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The Irish Health Service Executive has confirmed that since 2000 at least 188 children and young adults have died in state care or known to the health board.

The Health Service issued the exact figures “bring to an end the debate about numbers”. Last week they said that only 37 who they were accountable for had died over the past ten years.

Among the new figures the Health Service has said that 84 children and young adults died from natural deaths including 21 suicides, 10 unlawfully killed, 14 died after taking drugs, 15 died in traffic accidents, 24 died in "other accidents".

No files on those 188 children and young adults have been handed over to the Independent Review Group who is investigating Childcare in the Irish State.

It is believed that the scandal could be much wider than the figures released suggest. For example there is no way to know the risks that the children lived in or whether they suffered daily.

Alan Shatter, of Irish political party Fine Gael said that it was scandalous concealment. He said that in 2008 there were 24,000 reports of children being put at risk and 8,000 of these were never investigated.

In retort HSE local health manager, Bernard Gloster said “There are lots of children who come to the knowledge of the State for different reasons but that wouldn't necessarily say that there would be evidence to suggest that they were either of child-protection concern or at risk."

The Health Services managers also insisted last night that they were not trying to bury the information by releasing it late on the eve of a bank holiday weekend in Ireland.

In another damning indictment of the child protective services in Ireland it has been revealed that 62 of the children and young adults who died over this ten years period died of “unnatural causes”.