There’s concern that the Government isn’t up to speed nor fully committed to dealing with the findings of the damning ‘Brandon Report’.
It comes as the Donegal centre which was the subject of the report on the sexual abuse of at least 18 residents between 2003 and 2016, is to close.
The 2020 National Independent Review Panel report found at least 108 incidents of sexual abuse had been perpetrated on upwards of 18 residents between 2003 and 2016 by a resident given the name “Brandon”.
This happened with the knowledge of management and continued despite efforts of nursing staff to have it addressed. “Brandon” died in 2020.
Meanwhile, families of those living in the facility say they were not consulted over the imminent closure with service users set to be dispersed to various other centres in Donegal.
Speaking in the Dail, Independent Donegal TD Thomas Pringle says that unfortunately there is a very real risk that this could happen again.
While responding, Minister of State Anne Rabbitte says the Government is actively preparing safeguarding legislation:
HSE statement re Deongregation, Ard Greine Court, Donegal:
Community Healthcare Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan, Sligo (CH CDLMS) continues to progress decongregation across a number of services including Ard Greine Court, Donegal. The decongregation programme, in place across the country as well as in CH CDLMS, is being undertaken in line with the recommendations from the Time to Move on from Congregated Settings – A Strategy for Community Inclusion report.
This 2011 report and its recommendations were adopted as national HSE policy. The report identified that over 4,000 people with disabilities in Ireland were living in congregated type settings, defined as, “where ten or more people reside in a single living unit or are campus-based”. Ard Greine Court in Donegal, established in 2008, is identified as a campus based setting. It is a Government and HSE priority to ensure that all residents in existing congregated settings are actively supported to move into homes in the community, of no more than four persons, with person-centred support that will enable them to lead the life of their choice and participate as equal citizens in their local community.
Family Information Sessions to communicate and consult on the decongregation process and plans for Ard Greine Court took place in April 2023 and were attended by multidisciplinary staff members and managers. Further communications and engagements will be undertaken ongoing as agreed by each resident. The CH CDLMS experience of previous and ongoing decongregation processes indicates that the current planned timeframe for completion of the Ard Greine Court decongregation will be up to 3 years from now.
The staff and management of Ard Greine Court, the Disability Services Management Team and the CH CDLMS Executive Management Team are totally committed to ensuring that all actions taken to support residents in the decongregation process will protect their fundamental rights.