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Aras Attracta family: "Our thoughts and prayers are with all of these people now on suspension"

Mary Garvin’s family issue a statement following reports of death threats to carers.

Image: RTÉ One

THE IRISH SUN reported today that members of staff at Aras Attracta, the Mayo home at the centre of a care scandal, have received death threats.

On hearing about the front page article, the family of one of the residents decided to issue a statement to outline how they “abhor violence in every shape and form”.

Mary Garvin’s sister, Sheila Ryan, asked for their words to be read out on the Today with Seán O’Rourke show.

The family asks for the staff members to be given “time and space” to tell their side of the story.

They also offered their “thoughts and prayers” to all those people who are on suspension.

“We want to thank sincerely the many carers, nurses and other professionals who are today and have been in the past working quietly, caringly and professionally in Aras Attracta,” they wrote. “They deserve our support, encouragement, appreciation and thanks.

We want them to know that they are doing a good job in a very challenging profession. Under no circumstances, do we want mob rule. We abhor violence in every shape or form.

Michael Griffin, owner T&G Transport which provided services to Aras Attracta, also spoke to the radio programme about the divide in Swinford this week.

“There is a total sense of shock and horror in the town,” he said. “I’m glad to hear that statement. The town of Swinford at the minute – there are degrees of feeling. There is a major degree of sympathy and horror for the people who were involved in the abuse in that unit.

“But there is also a large degree, a mass thing of hatred running for other people involved in that show.

It’s brought the issue into a wider thing. It has divided people. It’s created a horrid scene.

Griffin also noted that there had been a significant amount of activity on social networking sites about the people involved in the PrimeTime show. He said he had seen one message which gave details of where the sons of one of the carers went for a drink.

He told O’Rourke that despite the blurred faces shown on Tuesday night, “everybody” in the town could recognise who the carers were.

“We know all the people who are involved. It is a small, tight community. People know who works there – most people will know somebody. Everyone here knows who the people are who were suspended. Everybody around knows who they are.

“They would have been seen as ordinary, decent, hardworking people. The people of Swinford are shocked to see the scenes on PrimeTime.”

Griffin agreed with the Garvin’s statement, adding:

“The worst thing that could happen now is a feeling of mob rule. That is disgraceful behaviour – that makes us no better than what we saw. I think people want to see people punished, but we don’t agree with mob rule. Social networks give licence to thugs to go around an intimidate.”

Here is the Garvin’s family statement, in full.

We, Mary Garvin’s family – Sheila Ryan, Kathleen Healy, John Paul and Patrick Gavin – wish to make the following statement to be aired this morning:

“We want due process. We want the inquiries that have been instigated to proceed. This includes a garda investigation. We want the people that are on suspension to be allowed due process and the opportunity of telling their side of the story and explaining their actions.

They must be given time and space to do that.

We want to thank sincerely the many carers, nurses and other professionals who are today and have been in the past working quietly, caringly and professionally in Aras Attracta. They deserve our support, encouragement, appreciation and thanks.

We want them to know that they are doing a good job in a very challenging profession. Under no circumstances, do we want mob rule. We abhor violence in every shape or form.

Everyone is innocent until they are proven guilty and we want all the people on suspension to be afforded the time and the space to tell their story and explain their actions.

Finally, and very importantly, our thoughts and prayers are with all of these people now on suspension. They have families and relatives too, and we know they are all suffering.

We want them treated humanely and with respect and the Garvin family believe in forgiveness as a way forward.”

More: Did you miss the RTÉ care home exposé? Here’s what happened

Read: ‘Detached, isolated and ill-informed HSE’ at play in Áras Attracta, says nurses group

Related: Shocking Prime Time doc shows elderly, fragile women being hit, kicked and dragged across the floor

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