Donegal Sinn Féin TD, Pearse Doherty, demanded that the Government publish the full Brandon Report into sexual abuse which occurred at Ard na Gréine Court in Stranorlar, Co. Donegal during Leader’s Questions in the Dáil yesterday.
Deputy Doherty, along with Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Disabilities, Pauline Tully TD are set to meet with the HSE today to discuss the issue and to call for the report to be immediately published and provided, in full, to the families.
Speaking in the Dáil, Deputy Doherty said:
“It has been more than a month now since the families of the victims who suffered the most horrendous abuse at Ard Gréine Court, Stranorlar, County Donegal were given a glimmer of hope that the long-awaited Brandon report would be published and finally give them the answers they have been awaiting for years.
“In circumstances such as these, the comfort of the truth is significant.
“We know from leaks to the media that more than 118 occurrences of sexually inappropriate behaviour were carried out by a resident who is given the pseudonym of “Brandon” in the report, and that there were 18 victims at Ard Gréine.
“As the Minister is aware, these victims are among the most vulnerable in society. Many of them are non-verbal.
“They placed their trust in the centre and the HSE to protect their well-being and safety.
“Obviously, that did not happen.
“They were failed again and again.
“The bravery of the whistleblower some years ago led to reports to HIQA and the Garda. The individual identified as Brandon was eventually isolated and the abuse stopped. However, astonishingly, two years after that, Brandon was relocated and the abuse started all over again.
“This was a catastrophic failure. What happened at Ard Gréine can never ever be allowed to happen again, but the HSE continues to fail these families. It moved to block the publication of the independent report.
“To make matters worse, we have now learned that An Garda Síochána has also moved to block the publication of the report. The Garda is concerned that the report does not accurately reflect the actions it took.
“I am saying clearly to the Minister that this needs to stop. It is not acceptable. The Government cannot stand by any longer and allow organs of the State to conceal the truth. This is an independent report that contains findings to which the families are entitled.
“The ongoing charade, the shrouds of secrecy and the circling of State wagons have no place in a modern democracy. Those days are over and it is the responsibility of the Government to make that message clear.
“In 2016, I wrote to the then Minister for Health, Deputy Harris, to raise issue of the under-reporting of abuse at the facility. I got a response from the Minister stating it was a matter for the HSE. Five years on, we now have an independent report that is being blocked by the HSE. This cannot be fobbed off any more to the HSE or any other State agency. The HSE has let these families down again and again.
“This needs to be dealt with at a political level by the Government.
“My question is very simple.
“When will these families have the full report?
“When will they know the truth of what happened to their loved ones?