Donegal Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty has called for an independent inquiry into claims that the Department of Health has been building secret dossiers on children with autism.
RTE Investigates has uncovered practices within the Department of Health where information from private doctor consultations has been secretly gathered and used to build dossiers on children with autism who were involved in legal actions against the State.
A special report will air tonight on RTE’s Prime Time at 9:35pm, revealing that sensitive medical and educational information of children with autism was passed on to the Department of Health without the knowledge or consent of parents. In one case, RTE reports that a video of a child in a distressed state was held by the department.
Deputy Pearse Doherty is demanding an inquiry into the revelations, which he has described as ‘shocking’.
Deputy Doherty today called for an inquiry of a “similar in scope and duration to the Scally inquiry into the cervical cancer screening programme”. He added that the probe should investigate the roles of the Departments of Health and Education and the HSE.
Speaking in the Dáil today, Deputy Doherty said the practices were “dishonest, totally unethical and possibly illegal and represents a monumental breach of trust.”
“Instead of assisting families and accessing proper services for children with a disability or a learning difficulty what we had was the Department of Health hiring private investigators, trying to dig up dirt on parents who’ve already been through the mill,” he added.