Saturday 25 March 2017

HSE to take court action over release of child care death files

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

PLANS to hand over sensitive files on children who died in care to an independent inquiry were thrown into doubt last night.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) confirmed it may take court action to test whether it can release confidential files to the expert panel.

Yesterday, Children's Minister Barry Andrews unveiled details of an emergency law that will allow the health minister to force the HSE to hand over confidential files on up to 188 dead children to the Independent Review into Deaths of Children in Care.

But the Irish Independent has learnt that despite the new law, the HSE is planning to take a test case in the District Court to determine whether it can release its files to the group.

If the court refuses to lift the privacy rule for child care cases, it could undermine the new law.

Last night the HSE told the Irish Independent that, until new legislation has been passed, the HSE was still subject to the law as it stands.

But the HSE said that it was continuing to investigate all avenues open to it to facilitate the sharing of information with the Independent Review Group.

"The HSE hopes in this way to ensure information will be provided to the Independent Review Group at the earliest possible date," said a spokesperson last night.

Irish Independent

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