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Department of Health Denies Secretly Compiling Dossiers On Children With Autism Involved In Legal Action

It follows allegations made in a recent RTE Investigates programme.

The programme, broadcast in March, claimed the Department of Health had been using data from consultants to build the dossiers on the family's of autistic children who have taken cases against the State.

This was allegedly done without the knowledge or consent of the parents.

The Oireachtas Health Committee is examining the allegations made in the documentary and Secretary General of the Department of Health, Robert Watt, will appear before it this morning.

He's set to argue his department "never gathered sensitive medical and educational information on children involved in court cases" in the manner portrayed.

And that there's "no evidence" the department was secretly compiling dossiers on children with autism involved in special needs litigation.

Mr Wall will tell the committee that as a co-defendant in litigation cases, the Department of Health may have documents on file that form part of the proceedings, but there's no evidence it was prying on families.

And there's no evidence it gathered information beyond instructions as part of the normal defence of a litigation case.

The department has appointed a support liaison officer to engage with the 29 families involved, while Mr Watt will tell the committee he welcomes an inquiry from the Data Protection Commission.

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