Allegations of abuse in former HSE funded facilities
The Dail Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has asked the Department of Health to look into every aspect of allegations, that up to 40 vulnerable children were placed at risk of abuse over a 20 year period up to 2009 at a then HSE funded care facility in the South East part of the country.
The HSE commissioned its own reports, costing more than €200,000, but these remain unpublished as the HSE state that they cannot be published until Garda investigations have been fully completed.
Questions have been raised into how the HSE investigations were carried out, and how those that carried out the investigations initially were selected.
Health bosses have been accused of failing to fully probe the allegations of sexual and physical abuse formerly disclosed to the HSE in 2009. Children with intellectual disabilities were allegedly emotionally, physically, sexually and financially abused over many years.
Advocacy groups, including the Special Needs Parents Association (SNPA) are now insisting upon a wide-scale independent inquiry to examine services provided across a network of homes for people with intellectual disabilities warning that ‘Arás Attracta has opened up a Pandora’s box of hidden abuse.’ Reacting to the revelations, a spokesperson for the SNPA said they are aware of other cases, adding that a delay in completing theses investigations was ‘wholly unsatisfactory’
However, due to issues those affected had in being understood, the claims were difficult to confirm without first-hand evidence.
Between 2012 and 2014, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), received 159 complaints about state run residential centres and foster-care homes housing Ireland’s most vulnerable people.
A HSE publication called ‘Trust in Care’ (2005) states:
Dignity is an essential component of the quality of life for all people. Health service employers have a duty of care to protect patients/clients from any form of behaviour which violates their dignity and to maintain the highest possible standards of care. The majority of staff working in the health service are highly motivated and caring individuals who are committed to providing the highest possible quality of care. Health service employers have a duty of care to provide staff with the necessary supervision, support and training to enable them to deliver a high quality service and to protect staff from situations which may leave them vulnerable to allegations of abuse or neglect.
Calls for an independent inquiry into these allegations are still very much being pursued.