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21 Jan 2022

‘Shocking’ report highlights further issues at Donegal care home

TD hits out at HSE after report highlights ‘inappropriate sexual behaviour’ at Ard Gréine Court

‘Shocking’ report highlights further issues at Donegal care home

Ard Gréine Court: The Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) reported inappropriate sexual behaviour which ‘was not responded to by agency staff’

Donegal TD Thomas Pringle has said he has no confidence that the Health Service Executive will act on the Brandon report into sexual abuse at Ard Gréine Court in Stranorlar after the State’s health watchdog reported that a resident engaged in “inappropriate sexual behaviour” that was ignored by staff at the same campus last September.

The Independent TD called the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) report on the Health Service Executive (HSE) facility as “shocking”.

An executive summary of the Brandon report published in December highlighted 108 incidents of sexual abuse against at least 18 intellectually disabled residents  over 13 years at  Ard Gréine Court.

“The Brandon report needs to be published and it needs to be acted on,” Mr Prngle said. “However, I would have no confidence that the HSE are going to act on what’s said in the Brandon report or the Hiqa report, and that’s the problem.

“It comes down to a lack of commitment from management, and management right up to the top levels of the HSE. The problem isn’t with the residents, it’s with the management culture of the HSE.

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“If they end up closing down the facility and dispersing the residents to facilities around the county, the lack of management will still be in place. Ultimately, that’s what the problem is,” he said.

According to the Hiqa report released on Wednesday, “the inspector observed one of the residents on the couch engaging in inappropriate sexual behaviour, which was not responded to by agency staff who were supporting them.”

This occurred during a Hiqa inspection of the Edencrest, Riverside and Cloghan flat on September 21, 2021. The report also stated that many of the non-compliance issues previously identified in the centre had not been adequately addressed.

The deputy said the report was a follow-up to an earlier Hiqa report in March 2021 that had identified significant risks in quality and safety of care.

 “All these months later, and very serious shortcomings are still there. Is it going to be another nine months before the HSE comes back and says they haven’t sorted this either?”

The TD first raised the issue of the Brandon report in the Dáil in July, after working with a whistleblower who had come to him in 2016. He said he raised the issue in the Dáil due to the lack of an adequate response during those years.

The Donegal TD has raised the issue in the Dáil several times since, calling on the HSE to release the Brandon report in full and for the issues identified in the report to be addressed. The HSE released the executive summary of the report after Deputy Pringle read from the report into the Dáil record to ensure the matter would stay in the public eye and the report would be released.

Mr Pringle said: “These ongoing issues are a very serious matter. We cannot continue to accept these reports without taking action to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens are protected and treated with the care and respect they deserve.”

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