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Families affected by CAMHS scandal will make Garda complaints, says solicitor

A report into Kerry’s mental health services was published this week.

A SOLICITOR REPRESENTING families impacted by the Kerry CAMHS scandal has said they will be making complaints to gardaí.

A review of the care of more than 1,300 children under the South Kerry CAMHS, published this week, found that 46 youngsters suffered significant harm.

The HSE report found that hundreds of children received “risky” treatment by a doctor working in the child and adolescent mental health service.

Yesterday, Gardaí confirmed they have received the final report into the HSE-run South Kerry Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and are considering it in the context of whether there are grounds to commence a criminal investigation.

Gardaí said they are “fully aware” of the impact the report has had on a number of families in Kerry and advised if any parent of a young person who may have suffered harm wishes to contact gardaí, they can either email or call their local garda station.

Speaking today, solicitor Padraig O’Connell said he welcomed the message from gardaí and confirmed complaints will be made. 

He told RTÉ’s Saturday with Katie Hannon programme: “I’d like to welcome the intervention of the gardaí in the matter because clearly there will be complaints to gardaí.

“I do not want to prejudice any aspect by commenting further on that but I can be absolutely certain that there will be complaints to the gardaí.”

O’Connell, who said he represents approximately 50 families, said they “continue to suffer” from the scandal.

He told RTÉ that he also sought an apology from the Taoiseach, who has promised he will pursue a “non-adversarial” mechanism to deal with Kerry mental health services.

Minister of State Damien English told the programme that he supports the Taoiseach’s plan and said it is “difficult” to assess the ongoing costs to some of the families affected, but that there won’t be a cap on costs.

“We have to agree some way to be able to judge that, measure that and put a system in place to make sure those costs are met,” the Fine Gael TD said. 

Speaking on the same programme, Dr Kieran Moore, who resigned from his role in the Wexford CAMHS team in 2018 citing burnout, said he has found the controversy upsetting and distressing.

“Overall in terms of structures and how we do this, we are not doing a good job. We’re failing and we’ve known this for years,” he said, “We pretend to have governance structures . . . We actually don’t.”
Social Democrat co-leader Catherine Murphy agreed that the matter should “not be something that ends up in the courts” or in front of a tribunal.

She added that “accountability needs to be built in the system” to prevent future scandals taking place.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin is bringing a motion to the Dáil next week regarding the protection of children’s mental health services.

Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy told the programme that it will urge the government to address the growing crisis in mental health services for children and young people bringing a motion to the Dáil next week.

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