The Oireachtas Committee on Disability Matters has warned that the compiling of dossiers by the Department of Health on children with autism could be a "significant breach" of a United Nations convention.

The committee, which met in private to discuss an RTÉ Investigates report regarding the dossiers, said it had "grave concern" about the allegations that sensitive and personal information was gathered about the children, who were involved in long-dormant legal actions against the State.

The committee on Thursday demanded that the Departments of Health and Education account for potential infringements of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Pointing to two articles of the convention, the committee said it had agreed to hold a public meeting in the coming weeks to consider the State's duty.

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Department of Health built secret dossiers on children with autism

Article 22 of the convention calls for the protection of personal and family privacy and the reputation of people with disabilities, while Article 31 calls for the safeguarding and confidentiality of data collection and processing regarding persons with disabilities.

These dossiers had been built using sensitive personal information gathered from the Health Service Executive and the Department of Education, without the knowledge or consent of families involved.

In a statement to RTÉ Investigates, the Department of Health said last month said that a senior counsel report commissioned following a protected disclosure by whistleblower Shane Corr found the practice to be "entirely lawful, proper and appropriate".

Watch on RTÉ Player:
RTÉ Investigates: The Department, The Data & The Disclosure

The Committee, noting that it had been several weeks since the practice came to light, also called for the Department of Health to publish the report "immediately".

In a statement, the committee said that it had also written to the Secretaries General of both departments in relation to their compliance with the convention.

In the letters, the departments have been asked to detail what steps have been taken to restore public confidence and public meetings are due to be held to deal with this in the coming weeks.

"The committee also believes that action is now essential to restore public trust, and in particular the trust of people with disabilities, not only in respect of the data processing practices of the State, but also in respect of engagement with health and education services," the committee said in a statement.