A Donegal hospital has apologised to the family of a four-year-old boy for the trauma and ongoing heartache suffered due to his brain injury at birth.

Letterkenny University Hospital issued the apology as the High Court approved an interim settlement for €2.5m in the case of Jack McGahern Donaghey who suffered an irreversible brain injury and has cerebral palsy.

The court was told that Jack was born on 5 August 2015 in very poor condition and had suffered a lack of oxygen to his brain.

His parents sued the hospital over the management of his birth. 

They said there was a failure to monitor, read or interpret the CTG during labour and a failure to anticipate the need for resuscitation immediately after birth.

Jack has cerebral palsy, has only a few words and has limited movement.

His mother Denise McGahern told the court her son requires constant care and help with all his needs such as feeding and dressing.

She added, "we take it day by day, we hope to get the best for Jack, sometimes life is tough but we love him to bits".

At the High Court an apology was read on behalf of the hospital's general manager Sean Murphy, who said he wished to express his "sincere apologies for the failings that caused the injuries to Jack and the consequential trauma suffered" by him and his parents.

The apology went on to say the hospital "understands that neither this apology nor the financial compensation granted by the court can negate the continuing heartache that the McGahern Donaghey family must feel every day and appreciate that this continues to be a very difficult time for you."

Jack is the second child of Denise McGahern and Seamus Donaghey of Drumfergus, Kilygordon, Co Donegal.

The case against the Health Service Executive had been fully defended until last month, when a settlement was reached in the sum of €2.5m.

The HSE agreed to an interim settlement for a period of ten years in the sum of €2.5m. 

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said the interim settlement would provide for the care needs of Jack into the future.

The judge explained that the amount of general damages for pain and suffering was a small portion of the overall settlement and the remainder was to provide for the care he was entitled to. 

The judge said the case would return to court in ten years when there would be a better picture of Jack's care needs for the rest of his life.

Jack's parents said they were relieved that this "very stressful and frightening time has come to an end", and said they were also relieved that the settlement will allow them to implement the care support and interventions that their son needs.

Solicitor Jolene McElhinney said whilst the apology from the HSE concerning the failures that led to Jack's devastating injuries is welcome, the family are saddened and weary of the legal process and struggle to understand why it took an adversarial legal process to bring about an explanation, and to procure an apology.