PAC members voice doubts on 'apology' excuse
Members of the Dáil Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have rejected explanations offered by the HSE over how it "mishandled" an apology to Grace for failings in her care.
The PAC was told by the HSE last month that an apology had been made to Grace, the intellectually disabled woman who is feared to have been sexually abused in a foster home.
But it later transpired no such apology was issued.
HSE director general Tony O'Brien yesterday issued an "unreserved apology" to the PAC.
"Unfortunately, the desire to offer a formal apology was lost in the communication to the staff members who were to conduct the meeting in person with Grace," said Mr O'Brien. He also claimed a series of miscommunications gave rise to a subsequent HSE statement which insisted there had been an apology.
The HSE's national director of social care, Pat Healy (below), said he ultimately took responsibility for the misleading information that was issued.
The officials said they were satisfied there had been no intention to mislead.
However, PAC member Joe Costello, one of several members to raise doubts about the explanation, said it was hard not to come to the conclusion that there had been a deliberate attempt to mislead the committee.
"It smacks of either fabrication or incompetence of a very high order," said Mr Costello.