Call for inquiry into HSE run care centres

A DONEGAL TD is calling for an independent inquiry into HSE-run centres in Donegal following the emergence of a new report that claims at least forty intellectually-disabled residents of a Stranorlar care centre were subjected to ongoing sexual assaults by more than ten perpetrators.
Thomas Pringle made the call after a report in the Irish Times about the assaults in the now closed Sean O’Hare Unit in St Joseph’s Hospital, the same centre that was the focus of the Brandon report.
“The assaults, dating back to 1991, occurred in the same centre where a separate review completed last year by the National Independent Review Panel (NIRP) found upwards of 18 intellectually-disabled residents had been subjected to at least 108 incidents of “sustained” abuse by a resident, given the pseudonym Brandon, between 2003 and 2016,” the report stated.
“This latest review, conducted by the HSE and referred to as a “validation report”, examines the period from when Brandon entered the now-closed Sean O’Hare unit in St Joseph’s Hospital, Stranorlar in 1991, to 2002.”
Deputy Pringle said he has been contacted by families concerned their loved ones may have been impacted. He said questions now have to be asked about whether Brandon was abusing before 1991.
“I think if we didn’t already know it, this shows that the HSE are incapable of investigating and reporting on this issue. We now need an independent public inquiry to find out what happened in centres for disabled people throughout Donegal,” said Deputy Pringle.
“It’s clear from this report and the Brandon report that staff on the ground acted to highlight the need to deal with these issues, but management at all levels within the HSE failed staff, residents, families and all citizens of this country.”
Deputy Pringle first raised the issue of the Brandon report in the Dáil last July, after working with a whistleblower who had come to him in 2016.
“It’s time that the HSE were publicly held to account for those failings,” he added.
Minister of State for disabilities Anne Rabbitte, who received the report this week, is seeking an urgent meeting with the HSE and a presentation on it as she feels it “lacks clarity” in parts.

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