Tuesday 20 March 2018

Law on child care files promised 'soon'

Conor Kane

LEGISLATION allowing the review into the deaths of children in HSE care to proceed will come into effect before the Dail's summer break.

Children's Minister Barry Andrews also said yesterday that the Government had learnt "a costly lesson" from legal constraints that had so far prevented certain case files from being shared by the Health Service Executive (HSE).

The minister published details of the Health (Amendment) Bill last Friday, allowing HSE documents to be released to the independent review group into the deaths of children in state care.

Yesterday, Mr Andrews said he foresaw no problems with the legislation being enacted soon. "It will be enacted before the end of the summer term," he said.

Asked if he was confident that this timeframe was realistic, he said: "Absolutely. I've discussed it with the whips on both sides. The urgency of it is acknowledged by all parties; it's not a party political issue to that extent."

He admitted he was frustrated to have to introduce new legislation in order to gain access to relevant HSE documents.

"To be honest with you, it's frustrating for the HSE as well. It's the way things are constructed. In fairness, we're basing the legislation on the Garda Siochana Act, which allows the gardai to share information with the Department of Justice, so it's probably something we should have done at the time of the Health Act, which set up the HSE in 2004," he said.

The minister also said that there was a chance the long-awaited referendum on children's rights could be held this year.

Irish Independent

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