The whistleblowers who first brought the 'Grace' case to light have said that the Health Service Executive has yet to communicate any apology directly to them.

Reacting to comments made by the Director General of the HSE, Tony O'Brien, in which he said he had "no hesitation" in apologising on behalf of the HSE to the whistleblowers, they said: "Our agency has received a settlement of €600,000 following the High Court proceedings initiated on behalf of Grace.

"We have not, however, received any communication from the HSE, at any level, to acknowledge the failure to fund our services appropriately nor, indeed, to apologise for such failures."

Mr O'Brien was speaking at a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee where he said that Deloitte's audit report into claims of funding cuts to the organisation employing people who made protected disclosures in the Grace case was in its final stages and that he should receive it very soon.

Grace was left in the care of a foster family for 20 years despite physical abuse, gross neglect and possible sexual abuse.

Responding to a question from TD Shane Cassells, Mr O'Brien was asked directly if an Internal Audit Report had been carried out into the funding of the service provider.

Mr O’Brien said there had been no such report conducted by the Internal Audit Division and this was subsequently verified to the Committee via a phone call to the HSE’s Internal Audit Division.

However, the whistleblowers, who are employed by the service provider which now cares for Grace, claim "the draft Deloitte Report references an 'internal report' dated 18th November 2014".

Mr O'Brien this morning told the PAC that since the beginning of this month, Deloitte staff had been working their way through responses to a draft of the report that was circulated on 19 May to stakeholders.

He said he had sought to put Deloitte under some pressure, within reason, to complete its work but the advice was it could not provide the report in time for today's meeting.

He said he was advised Deloitte was in the final stages of its work.

As the report's commissioner, he has not had sight of the draft report, he said, adding he would only see it when Deloitte signs off on the final report and certifies it.

The review looks at funding of the care of Grace and also - material to today's proceedings - to aspects of funding from the HSE to one of the organisations providing care for Grace.

The report was commissioned more than a year ago, in February 2016, the day before the general election.

Mr O’Brien said Deloitte was taking into account feedback given by HSE internal stakeholders.

Labour TD Alan Kelly, who is chairing today’s PAC hearing, said it was "ridiculous" the length of time the report was taking to complete given it had been commissioned 15 months ago.

Mr O'Brien said there was a procurement process to go through before Deloitte began its work.

The draft report was provided on 19 May this year for feedback from those whose actions are subject of review. Deloitte received feedback on 9 June.

Mr O’Brien was also asked about promotions within the HSE among personnel involved in the management of Grace's history in foster care.

The committee heard that three of five staff were promoted.

Staff member 'H3' was last promoted on 1 December 1991. The individual achieved the grade at which they retired on that date.

Staff member 'H7' was promoted on 10 June 1996 but the individual reverted back to her previous grade about a year later.

The session was interrupted with Mr O'Brien asked to provide written answers.

The PAC also heard that two reports into the Grace case, conducted by Conal Devine and Resilience Ireland, cost the HSE €534,940.

This cost does not include the Government-commissioned report from senior counsel Conor Dignam.