A senior member of An Garda Síochána has been appointed to examine the review of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health services (Camhs) in Co Kerry.
As reported in the Irish Examiner, the appointment has been made in order to establish if there are grounds for a criminal investigation.
It comes following the publication of a report which highlighted several failings in the service with 46 children suffering due to unreliable diagnoses and inappropriate prescriptions.
On Thursday, HSE chief Paul Reid apologised in the wake of the damning review.
Mr Reid, speaking at a HSE briefing, called the findings of the review “deeply regrettable”, “beyond comprehension” and “just so wrong”.
According to Gardaí, a senior officer has been appointed to examine the review “in the context of whether there are grounds to consider any specific criminal investigation”.
Keith Rolls, a solicitor who represents more than 100 families who have been affected by the services, said there is concern that the published report is not comprehensive because some patient files were missing.
This concern was reiterated by a second solicitor, Padraig O’Connell, who is also working on the case.
“We are seriously concerned about the missing files,” he said.
“Where are they, and why are they missing? Why isn’t there a back-up master file? Why isn’t all this computerised?
According to Mr O’Connell, affected families are “seriously” considering a formal complaint to gardaí under the criminal code.
“Where are the lost years for those children? They can never get them back,” he added.
In the Dáil on Wednesday, the Taoiseach described the report as a “profoundly serious issue”.
“I have read the executive summary of the report, it is shocking and very serious,” Mr Martin said.
“What happened is unacceptable.
“It represents a damning indictment of the service.
“The first principle of medicine is to do no harm.
“Children were harmed here by a complete failure of clinical performance and oversight and by the entire management of the service.”
-Additional reporting by PA