The Health Service Executive has apologised to the family of a nine-year-old boy who suffered catastrophic brain damage after his birth was mismanaged.

The apology was made as the High Court approved a settlement of €15 million in the case of Jack Leane from Killarney, Co Kerry.

The court was told there was a "fatal delay" in reacting to difficulties experienced by baby Jack during labour and he suffered irreversible brain damage.

His mother, Annette Leane, was admitted to Cork University Maternity Hospital with high blood pressure and her labour was induced on 11 August 2008.

Monitors showed the baby was showing signs of distress but a caesarean section was not carried out on time and he was born in very poor condition, requiring resuscitation.

Jack has cerebral palsy, suffers daily seizures and has visual and cognitive impairment. He requires 24-hour nursing care and has complicated medical issues.

At the High Court this morning, lawyers for the hospital said they would like to apologise sincerely to the family in relation to the delivery of Jack.

"We do not underestimate the impact this has had on you and your family and we are truly sorry," the statement read.

Senior counsel for the family, Oonah McCrann, said the liability was only admitted in February last year, eight years after Jack's birth.

The case had been fully defended until then, she said.

Judge Kevin Cross said he had no hesitation in approving the settlement which would allow services to be put in place for Jack.

Ms Leane told the court the settlement would allow them to choose appropriate care for their son and allow them to be parents to him and their other two children.

Outside court, she said 11 August 2008 was supposed to be the happiest day of their lives - the day their first born was to arrive into the world.

She said the hospital had "failed him hopelessly" by failing to take the most basic of precautions, to read the CTG trace and take action when her baby was showing signs of distress.

She said the amount of the award was significant and would give them peace of mind into his future.

"The award represents the cost of providing for care for Jack for the rest of his life."

Instead of the focus on the large award might we ask that someone look and ask how we can prevent this from happening to any other baby.

She also criticised the length of time it took the hospital to admit liability.

"It took eight years, why it took so long I do not know. If it took them eight years to find out how grievously they injured Jack it is even more disconcerting," she added.

The stress and cost of this action is a huge strain that not all families can sustain or even afford to start to investigate.

Ms Leane also thanked her family and friends and her legal team.