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Simon Coveney: Families to be provided with full report into Donegal care home abuse scandal

The report’s publication has been delayed following a dispute between the HSE, gardaí and the report’s authors.

AN OBJECTION FROM gardaí is the only reason a report into allegations of sexual abuse at a disability centre in Donegal has not been published, the Dáil has heard. 

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said this afternoon that An Garda Síochána has claimed there is a “factual inaccuracy” in the report’s executive summary and has asked the HSE to delay releasing the report.  

Coveney also told TDs today that families of residents at the Ard Gréine Court complex in St Joseph’s hospital in Stranorlar who were allegedly abused will be able to read the report’s findings in full.

The Foreign Affairs Minister said they deserve “to get the full truth” on what happened at the disability centre, with the HSE-commissioned report finding “108 occurrences of sexual sexually inappropriate behaviours by a resident” towards 18 other residents of the facility between the years 2003 and 2011.

Coveney added that the National Independent Review Panel (NIRP) was tasked with investigating the allegations, and also found that the abuse “occurred with full knowledge of staff and manage at the facility at the time”. 

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty welcomed the commitment to publish the full report into the abuse, which the report states were committed by a resident referred to by the pseudonym ‘Brandon’, who is now deceased. 

Criticising the delay over over the report’s publication during Thursday’s Leaders’ Questions, Doherty said the HSE has let the families down.

“When will these families have the full report when these families know the truth of what happened to their loved ones?” he said.

Responding, Simon Coveney said the Government is “very aware of the the trauma that many individuals and families continue to go through”, adding that it wants to see families receive the report “as soon as possible”.

He said the purpose of the NIRP report was to review the governance arrangements in the disability centre and to understand “why the situation continued over a period of years without any effective action being taken by management during Brandon’s residency, to stop and prevent these highly traumatic assaults” at the centre. 

Local gardaí

Coveney said local gardaí had written to the HSE last Thursday, 4 November, to request that the HSE maintain an agreement not to publish the details of the executive summary until a process surrounding details of the report had been completed.

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Coveney added: “Separately, An Garda Síochana wrote to the HSE on Friday, 5 November, the following day, indicating that there was a factual inaccuracy in these in the executive summary, which they indicated should be corrected and are requesting a copy of the full report.

“At this point, the only pause on progressing full publication is the specific grant request of An Garda Síochána.”

However, the chair of the NIRP is satisfied that the report is accurate, the minister continued, who said the Minister for Disabilities Anne Rabbite is hoping that the issues between gardaí, the HSE and the NIRP can be resolved quickly so that the report can be released to families. 

Donegal TD Doherty said there had been suggestions that families would be able to view the executive summary of the report and welcomed the remarks that they will be provided with the “full information” on what happened to their family members. 

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