Saturday 24 March 2018

'This has been mishandled' - HSE's Tony O'Brien admits mistakes in issuing apology to sex abuse woman

Tony O’Brien. Photo: Damien Eagers
Tony O’Brien. Photo: Damien Eagers

Wayne O’Connor

THE HSE has admitted it mishandled the issuing of an apology to a woman with an intellectual disability who was allegedly sexually abused in a foster home.

Health Service Director General Tony O’Brien has insisted that there was no deliberate attempt to do wrong and added that it was difficult to explain why the body said they apologised to the woman when they had not said sorry.

He said that the body cannot take disciplinary action while a Garda investigation into the alleged sexual abuse is ongoing.

The HSE admitted last night that it had not apologised to the woman despite being adamant for the past seven weeks that it had made apologies to the woman and her mother.

Mr O’Brien admitted that there was a “breakdown in communications” in the HSE and said that he would also be sending a written apology himself.

“I am concerned about how written apologies are provided,” Mr O’Brien told RTE Radio One today.

“This has been mishandled. This has not been good,” he added.

“I will be personally sending written correspondence again so that there will be no doubt surrounding the apology.”

Mr O’Brien recognised that the HSE had a lot to answer for and insisted that the matter is being handled efficiently.

Two reports have been compiled on the alleged sexual abuse but it is not yet possible for the organisation to look at disciplinary action.

“It is not possible to pursue disciplinary action at the same time as a garda investigation because it may prejudice the garda investigation,” he said.

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