South Tipperary General Hospital has apologised to a 12-year-old boy who was brain injured at birth.

The apology was read out in the High Court as Aaron Christopher Hanrahan, who has spastic quadriplegia and cerebral palsy, settled his action against the Health Service Executive with an interim payout of €3.5m.

Counsel for the HSE Brian Foley BL turned to Aaron and his parents Marianne Cunningham and Peter Hanrahan of Alleen, Donohill, Co Tipperary, and read out the apology on behalf of the hospital.

He said the hospital wished to "sincerely and unreservedly apologise for the catastrophic injuries suffered by Aaron at the time of his birth and the tragic outcome for him and his family".

Aaron had sued the HSE through his mother over the circumstances of his birth at South Tipperary General Hospital in 2004.

It was claimed the baby was exposed to unnecessary risk by delivering him at a hospital which was not suitably staffed or equipped with appropriate facilities to deal with premature babies and there was a failure to take appropriate or timely actions when the CTG trace was pathological and that the CTG trace had been discontinued when it was dangerous and unsafe to do so.

It was claimed there was a failure to expedite the delivery of Aaron by caesarean section in circumstances in which an obstetric emergency existed.

Senior Counsel Denis McCullough told the court Ms Cunningham, whose baby was due in June 2004, had been admitted to South Tipperary General Hospital in April 2004.

He said CTG recording of the foetal heartbeat was started at 8pm on 18 April 2004 and continued until after 10pm.

It was claimed the trace from 9pm was abnormal.

The CTG was recommenced after 11.30pm and was pathological but was turned off after midnight to enable the mother to sleep and restarted just before 6am.

Aaron was delivered after 9am.

Counsel said if Aaron had been delivered by 1am on 19 April 2004 the degree of injury would have been lessened.

Aaron, who has six brothers and sisters, must use a wheelchair but is a bright and cheerful boy who attends his local school, Mr McCullough said.

He added that due to cutbacks in the health service Aaron's speech and language therapy had been stopped two years ago and his communication skills had deteriorated since that time.

The boy's physiotherapy sessions had also been stopped last year, counsel said.

Approving the settlement Mr Justice Kevin Cross wished Aaron and his family all the best.

The case will come back before the court in nine years when Aaron's future care needs will be assessed.

Outside court Ms Cunningham, in a statement on behalf of herself and her partner Mr Hanrahan, said they were delighted and relieved their lengthy battle for justice for their son have been achieved.

"Aaron suffered irreparable damage and because of this he will remain dependant and in need of constant care and attention for the duration of his life," she said.

She said the written apology from the HSE and the hospital came before Aaron's 12th birthday and was "a brilliant present for him to receive".

"Even though we realise the great injustice done to our son, we as parents are fulfilled in the knowledge that all Aaron's needs and requirements will all be provided for for his entire future.

"We can now look forward to a much improved but more importantly a much deserved quality of life for our beautiful son."