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Saturday 27 May 2017

Protection of children 'frustrated' by Croke Park deal

Fergal Gallagher and Grainne Cunningham

THE man charged with reforming the country's child protection services has said the Croke Park Agreement is frustrating his efforts to hire, fire and move people on.

He also warned that the current system, which is supposed to protect children, "just doesn't work".

Gordon Jeyes, who was appointed last December by the Health Service Executive (HSE) in the wake of concern over the deaths of children in care, made the damning comments yesterday.

"Changes get made but you can't recruit, you can't sack, you can't move on, you can't take things forward. Croke Park has created a place of no consequence," he said.

Concern

The National Director of Children and Family Services, who started in his role in February amid widespread concern about the deaths of children in care, admitted that statistics from within the HSE were often unreliable.

Last year, the HSE was forced to admit that as many as 200 children had died in state care after then opposition TD Alan Shatter read a confidential HSE report into the death of mother-of-two Tracey Fay into the Dail record.

A report into the death of David Foley (17) in September 2005, who had been in care for three years at the time of his death, was also published.

A special taskforce headed by Norah Gibbons of Barnardos and solicitor Geoffrey Shannon, a child law expert, was established to examine the deaths but its report has been delayed because of the volume of cases.

Mr Jeyes said that in Ireland we need to introduce a system of 'co-parenting'. At the moment children are either living with their parents, or in state care, with no middle ground, he said.

Irish Independent

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