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Gardaí and HSE investigate 'force feeding and slapping' at Mayo care facility

A number of staff have been placed ‘off-duty’.

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THE HSE HAS launched an independently-led investigation into allegations of abuse at a residential respite centre in Mayo for adults with intellectual disabilities.

The concerns were raised by the RTÉ Investigations Unit after they sent an undercover researcher to the facility for three weeks.

A number of staff against whom the allegations were made have been placed “off-duty”, a statement from the HSE confirmed.

“This action is a protective measure both for the residents and the staff concerned and is done without prejudice to the staff members until the results of the investigation are known,”  the statement continued.

Appropriate measures have been taken so that staffing levels will be maintained to deliver safe care.

A garda spokesperson confirmed that they are also investigating the allegations, and they are liaising with both the HSE and Hiqa.

The HSE’s National Director for Social Care, Pat Healy, said:

The allegations made to the HSE are of a serious nature and include “slapping” and “forced feeding”.Actions such as this, should they be proved to be founded, are wholly unacceptable in any facility that provides care to vulnerable people.

The centre, Áras Attracta in Swinford, Co Mayo, had previously come to the attention of authorities.

In July, Hiqa inspectors found that mealtime was “unsatisfactory and did not promote dignity, choice, respect or promote independence”.

The unannounced inspection was launched by HIQA after it said it received a number of unsolicited complaints about the home.

The sudden death of a man at the centre in 2012 was under investigation by gardaí.

First published 1.36 pm

Read: Calls for urgent meeting with Varadkar after serious failings at Mayo care home >

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Nicky Ryan

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