University Hospital Waterford has apologised to the family of a 10-year-old boy for the failings which caused his devastating brain injury at birth.

The apology was read out in the High Court as part of an almost €21m settlement received by Kevin Dunphy English over the care he received at his birth.

In a letter to the Dunphy English family, University Hospital Waterford said it wished "to express sincere apologies for the failings on the part of the hospital that caused the devastating brain injury to your son Kevin at his birth".

Kevin has suffered permanent profound disabilities which affect him in every facet of his life.

The hospital said it understood that neither the apology nor any financial compensation would assuage "the continuing heartache that the family must feel every day".

The hospital acknowledged that Kevin's disabilities would continue to be a cause of major hardship for Kevin and his family.

His Senior Counsel, Dr John O'Mahony, told the court that a lot of red lights were flashing but went unheeded before the boy's delivery.

It was the case, he said, that if Kevin had been born an hour earlier at the hospital, he would have been saved injury.

He was in intensive care for the first 24 days of his life.

Kevin, the court heard, has cerebral palsy and global developmental delays and requires round-the-clock care.

He has to use a wheelchair for long distances and has an extremely limited vocabulary of about eight or nine words.

Dr O'Mahony said that Kevin's parents, Jane Dunphy and Seamus English from Co Kilkenny, had dedicated their lives to their son's care.

The High Court approved a final lump sum settlement in Kevin's case of €18m which along with interim settlement payments totalling over €2m in the last five years brings the total in the case to €20.75m.

Ms Dunphy told the court that the family is delighted and relieved to have come to the "end of a long road" in the legal process.

"It has been a very long road. Kevin is good and he is happy. Every day he is a challenge. We are going to care for Kevin and do the best way we can for him," she told Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

Approving the settlement Mr Justice Cross congratulated Kevin's parents for their work and the love they have given their son up until now.

The judge said he was sure the apology by the hospital would give some comfort to Kevin's parents and he pointed out that the €18m is for the future care needs of the boy for the rest of his life.