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Finally, HSE admits 37 children died in its care

Five children in the care of the State committed suicide and five died from drug-related causes, it has emerged.

The HSE has now admitted that 37 children died in its care over the past decade

Further revelations will follow next week when the State body releases additional figures on those who died while in after-care programmes, as well as homeless children. It finally released figures yesterday revealing the number of children it said died in its care over the past decade, ten weeks after clarification was sought from the Children's Minister Barry Andrews.

However, the numbers included only those who were in the full-time care of the State.

The HSE figures showed that five children died by suicide, five were drug related, two were unlawful killings, three died in road traffic accidents and three died in other accidents. And an additional 19 died from natural causes, including cancer and surgical complications.

Mr Andrews said information about children who die in care must be available in a timely fashion in the future.


He said that he wrote to the HSE in March asking that the information previously presented to him in respect of children who had died in State care be verified. "It is regrettable that it has taken the HSE some 10 weeks to establish a final figure," he said.

However the HSE's Professor Brendan Drumm said that the 10-week delay in collating the figures was because the minister sought figures on the deaths of children who had come into contact with social workers at any stage.

Meanwhile, the HSE has appointed a rank outsider to replace Prof Drumm as head of the health service, and has given him a salary €100,000 higher than planned. The appointment of Cathal Magee as the new HSE chief executive for a five-year term was announced after an HSE board meeting.

Mr Magee (56) left Eircom in February after 15 years.

The HSE confirmed he would be paid a salary of €322,000, but will not be entitled to a performance-related bonus.