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Andrew McGinley

Andrew McGinley: Calls for full investigation into Deirdre Morley's HSE care prior to deaths of his children

Mr McGinley said that today’s verdict was ‘probably the right verdict’.

THE FATHER OF the three children whose mother was found not guilty of their murder by reason of insanity has launched a stinging criticism of the HSE’s Mental Health services.

Andrew McGinley, speaking in a statement released by the Garda Press Office, said that it is now hoped that he will be able to understand what happened.

He questioned the diagnosis for his wife Deirdre Morley and said that questions on her medication and care were not properly addressed.

“Today’s verdict is probably the right verdict. Everyone who knows Deirdre, knows how much she loved our children and how devoted she was to them,” he said.

“Whatever the outcome of this trial, it remains that our beloved children Conor, Darragh and Carla have died. As I write this, I’m no closer to understanding why.

“As outlined in the medical expert reports, Deirdre’s diagnosis prior to the children’s deaths is different to her diagnosis now. With the cooperation of the HSE Mental Health Services I hope we will be able to understand why as the HSE Mental Health Services were responsible for Deirdre’s diagnosis, treatment and medication and she was in their professional care.

“If Deirdre’s diagnosis was questionable prior to January 24th 2020 then surely so too was her treatment and medication.

“We are now also aware of a number of occasions within Deirdre’s professional care when her initial diagnosis should have been queried but none of these seem to have been fully addressed,” he said.

Andrew called for a full investigation into all aspects of his wife’s care by the HSE Mental Health Services.

“This trial was never going to explore those issues so we ask the HSE Mental Health Services for an inclusive investigation into Deirdre’s diagnosis, treatment and medication prior to this tragedy.

“We ask for this to be conducted as a matter of urgency. This will help us understand the insanity that took the lives of our beloved Conor, Darragh and Carla. We as a family need to be included in any investigation as our exclusion during her treatment has left us with many unanswered questions. “We believe that an inclusive investigation can only serve to inform clinicians in their practice and therefore avoid tragedies like ours happening again. We do not want any other family to suffer as we have,” he explained.

Andrew said in his statement that 50 children have died at the hands of one of their parents in Ireland in the past 20 years.

“Over 60% of the those people were known to have had previous contact with psychiatric services. However the Mental Health Act 2001 does not go far enough in ensuring that the family support structures for the patient are fully engaged and included by the mental health professionals treating our loved ones,” he added.

Andrew said that this issue was raised by Una Butler in 2010 following the deaths of her daughters.

Una Butler’s husband John Butler, who had been receiving treatment for depression, took his own life after he killed his daughters Ella (2) and Zoe (6) in the family home, in Ballycotton, Co Cork, on 16 November 2010.

“The lessons which should have been learned from the sad loss of Ella and Zoe should have led to improvements in the Mental Health Act. This in turn would have prevented the deaths of Conor, Darragh and Carla in our opinion.

“It is too late for us but I do not want to see another grieving parent speaking in the future about the same exclusion after a similar catastrophic loss.

“My message here and now to anyone who has a loved one in psychiatric care is to get in there as soon as you can to be added as an advocate for their treatment plan,” he said.

In recognition of the short lives of his children the grieving father has set up three projects in their name.

There is a YouTube channel for Conor, a colouring competition for Carla, and a charity to encourage people to join projects in their communities for Darragh.