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HSE accused of trying to gag Ombudsman

Emily O’Reilly says the HSE’s legal action against Ireland’s rights watchdog was “perverse.”

Emily O'Reilly. Photo: Office of the Obudsman

OMBUDSMAN EMILY O’REILLY has condemned the actions of the Health Service Executive, accusing them of attempting to gag her office.

O’Reilly said that the HSE’s approach to dealing with a report compiled by the Ombudsman’s office, which investigated complaints into guardians’ fees, was “perverse.”

She said that the proceedings entered into by the HSE in an attempt to prevent the Ombudsman’s report from being published were “frustrating, wasteful, dispiriting and, ultimately, useless”, and added that it has cost the taxpayer a huge amount of money.

She said: “Nothing was decided and nothing was clarified, and the proceedings have made no contribution of any kind either to the furtherance of the HSE’s child protection functions or to upholding the integrity of the courts. In short, these proceedings were an utter waste of time and money,” and added, “The worst that can be said is that the HSE’s behaviour may have been a calculated and measured attempt to prevent the publication by my office of an investigation report which was critical of the HSE’s actions.”

The HSE has responded to these accusations by saying that it has “genuine and valid reasons” for bringing legal proceedings against the Ombudsman.

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