Social workers told 'again and again'
Relatives of the six children at the centre of the 'House of Horrors' child-care case last night described how they raised the abuses with HSE staff several times, but were left furious at their inaction.
The pair, a man and woman who did not wish to be identified, said they began raising their concerns as far back as 1989, but despite being told that social workers were working on the case, little was done.
The woman said she reported the parental neglect soon after the first child was born, and was told by a social worker that they'd "look after it".
"I told them (the social workers) time and time and time again," she told RTE's 'Primetime'. "It was really driving me mad.
"I would go to bed. I would cry ... and I knew if they talked to the kids, if they talked -- instead of talking to the father and mother, they should have listened to the ones that could have told them what was happening, but they didn't."
The man, who with the woman appeared on screen with a distorted image and altered voice, said: "Those kids have gone thorough 14 years of absolute hell. Their childhood is absolutely gone."
He described how, after seeking a meeting with a HSE healthcare manager on several occasions, he only received one after threatening legal action. However, he claimed that the only result of the talks was a telling-off by the manager for abusing staff.
Last night, a statement from the children's relatives called on the Government to promise a children's rights referendum within the next six months.
They also laid blame on the right-wing Catholic group that helped the parents at the centre of the scandal to keep custody of the children during a High Court challenge in 2001.
"Their intervention allowed the abuse to continue," the statement added.