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HSE misallocated latest request from sexual abuse survivor whose claims it lost for 3 years

The HSE’s dealings with ‘Mary’ has seen it issue her with a number of apologies since 2010.

File Photo . The Health Service Executive has decided to keep its network isolated from external communications for a further 48 hours following the global ransomeware attack Source: RollingNews.ie

THE HSE ‘MISALLOCATED’ a freedom of information request from a woman who had previously made a protected disclosure regarding claims of serious sexual abuse within her family, it has emerged.

The woman, ‘Mary’ (not her real name), previously told her story to TheJournal.ie in early March, one which saw the HSE and child and family agency Tusla ‘lose’ her disclosure of alleged serious physical, sexual, and mental abuse against her father for more than three years.

Mary’s interactions with the HSE and Tusla had previously seen multiple apologies delivered to her by both bodies regarding their conduct towards her.

Her latest request has also seen the HSE provide its “sincerest apologies”.

In February, Mary, who lives in the midlands, began an attempt to collate all files kept on her and her case historically from the HSE – her accusations of sexual and physical abuse having covered a period of 15 years between the late 1970s and early 1990s.

An initial request was made to the HSE on 20 February under Freedom of Information legislation. Ordinarily, such a request must be responded to within four weeks.

Mary’s first acknowledgement of her initial request came fully 14 weeks after her initial request on 29 May.

“We wish to acknowledge your FOI request made on the 20 February 2017 in relation to correspondence with several people throughout the HSE,” their response read.

Unfortunately this request was misallocated when it originally came into the FOI department.
We wish to provide our sincerest apologies regarding this.

HSE

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“It’s just so frustrating, that feeling of being let down again,” Mary told TheJournal.ie.

You jump through all the hoops that you’re asked to, and then they never even contact you. It’s just not a good sign.

Mary says that her most recent interaction with a HSE representative saw them “clarify that they didn’t lose anything like before, just misallocated it”.

The biggest thing is they don’t make it easy. They want details of all the people that you dealt with, and names and addresses. Then they tell you ‘we made a mistake, but sure that’s what we do’.
Really, they were more concerned with pointing out the fact that the information was misallocated than they were about how upset I was. They made a point of clarifying that twice.

“I can’t put into words how angry I am, I just can’t,” she added.

TheJournal.ie contacted the HSE for a comment on this matter. “As this matter has been addressed under the Freedom of Information process, we have no further comment to make,” a spokesperson said in reply.

Mary’s dealings with the HSE began in October 2010, when her initial disclosure of abuse (made via her counsellor) was ‘misfiled’. No response bar an official acknowledgement of her initial letter  was given to her for seven months.

The following four years saw a litany of errors take place with regard to Mary’s case, including sensitive personal information concerning her being sent repeatedly to multiple wrong addresses in her locality.

Her case is one of many considered by Ombudsman Peter Tyndall as part of a systemic investigation into the way complaints are handled by child and family agency Tusla and its predecessor agency at the HSE.

“My life was made hell through this,” Mary told TheJournal.ie at the time. “My life was already hell with confronting what had happened, and then to have the disclosure of such sensitive things dealt with the way it was just made it a hundred times worse.”

Read: Judge accuses RTÉ’s Joe Duffy of attacking the courts for not sentencing people

Read: Teenage girl missing from Cork for almost two weeks

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