The Chief Executive of the HSE and the Minister for Health have been called upon to improve the quality and safety of services at Donegal disability centres.
The call was made at a meeting of the Regional Health Forum West on Tuesday, where Independent Sligo Councillor Declan Bree said that leaders should intervene and take appropriate action on safeguarding issues in Donegal.
Cllr Bree’s motion came on foot of inspections after revelations of extensive sexual abuse of residents by another resident in the HSE-run Ard Gréine Court campus in Stranorlar. The Brandon Report completed by the National Independent Review Panel (NIRP) in August of 2020, found that the former resident, given the pseudonym Brandon, perpetrated at least 108 sexual assaults on upwards of 18 intellectually disabled adults, most of them non-verbal, between 2003 and 2016.
As a result, HIQA undertook a regulatory programme in a cohort of centres over a two-week period in January 2022, arising from concerns about the management of safeguarding concerns by the HSE in the Donegal area. The Chief Inspector noted poor oversight and governance arrangements at local, regional and national level.
Cllr Bree told the health forum: “I have no doubt but that the members of this Regional Health Forum will all agree that the safety and protection of vulnerable people is paramount and that families with loved ones in centres in Donegal and throughout the region must be assured that their loved ones are receiving the best possible care.
“In this context and in light of the Hiqa overview report, I believe it is proper that this Health Forum would express its deep concern about the capacity of the HSE management in the CHO1 area and particularly in Donegal to improve the quality and safety of services in centres for people with disabilities – and that we call on the Chief Executive of the HSE and the Minister for Health to intervene and take appropriate action to improve the quality and safety of the services. “