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Saturday 16 December 2017

Family of teen who died in care seeks review of case

Elaine Keogh

THE grandmother of a teenage boy who died from inhaling butane gas near the Health Board children's home where he lived has called for his death to be reviewed.

Eilis Gartland hopes the Independent Review Group set up by Children's Minister Barry Andrews will revisit the tragic loss of her grandson Shane Hafford.

Mrs Gartland, who lives in Drogheda, Co Louth, stated no one from the Health Service Executive (HSE) North East or the minister's office had been in contact with her following his inquest in 2005.

"I want him to get justice, I don't think he got it at the inquest. We didn't know we could have asked questions at the inquest about the care he was getting," she said. "All I got off the Health Board afterwards was a plastic bag with a few clothes in it," she added.

Shane died on the evening of April 14, 2003, in an apartment on Magdalene Street in Drogheda. The apartment is about 15 metres away on the same street as Valhalla, the children's home he had been placed in.

The inquest returned a verdict of death by misadventure. At the Coroner's Court sitting, he was described in glowing terms by the health board staff who had cared for him. The grandmother was flooded with memories of Shane, who would have been 18 years old in 2005, following the tragic publicity earlier this month over the death of Tracey Fay.

"It brought it all back to me about Shane and how young people like him never got a chance to live," she said.

The HSE did not confirm if Shane's death would be among those reviewed.

A spokeswoman said: "The Independent Review Group established by the minister will be reviewing all deaths of children in care."

A spokesman for the minister said the independent group has not yet begun its work.

In relation to when the next of kin of the deceased would be contacted, he said: "Decisions on the specific approach to be adopted are a matter for the group."

Irish Independent

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