Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Public Accounts Committee

HSE Report on Foster Home in Waterford Community Care Area: Discussion

12:00 pm

Photo of Robert DowdsRobert Dowds (Dublin Mid West, Labour) | Oireachtas source

There is something I find very difficult about this. Probably unlike anyone else in this room, I have actually taught non-verbal children, and the non-verbal children whom I taught did not have intellectual disabilities but they were still incredibly vulnerable because they could not speak. I am absolutely hit in the stomach by the fact that a really vulnerable woman was left in that sort of situation for 12 or 13 years after everybody else had been removed. I find it impossible to get my head around that. Arising from that, can I ask about the whistleblowers? I am closely related to a whistleblower who suffered quite a lot after whistleblowing in a totally different area of life. I am looking at the end of the letter signed by Claire Looney and Fiona O'Neill from WIDA.

It states:

However, we remain concerned that the HSE's treatment of us as whistleblowers is as despicable now as it was six years ago. The HSE's actions over the last week are the latest in a series of attempts to silence us. We are no longer willing to accept this treatment as we feel we need to send a signal to the HSE and to other people who might wish to speak up for vulnerable people being failed by our health services who cannot speak for themselves.

I will tie in with that the interview on "Claire Byrne Live" last night, in which Claire Byrne talked to a whistleblower. The whistleblower's voice was disguised and her face was not shown on the TV. Why would whistleblowers in and around the HSE be afraid to show their faces, such as in the case of the woman last night? Why did Claire Looney and Fiona O'Neill write that last paragraph in their letter?


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