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Up to 40 patients abused by 10 perpetrators at Stranorlar centre

A new report claims that as many as ten perpetrators sexually assaulted up to 40 patients at a care centre run by the HSE in Stranorlar.

The report in today’s Irish Times follows a new review into procedures at the Sean O’Hare Unit at St Joseph’s Hospital.

The assaults on the intellectually disabled people date back to 1991 and took place in the same centre that was the focus of the Brandon report over an 11 year period.

The latest report shows and urgent need for an independent inquiry into HSE-run centres in Donegal, claims Deputy Thomas Pringle.

He claims the report shows the HSE are incapable of investigating the issue and an independent public inquiry is needed.

Deputy Pringle has repeatedly called on the HSE to publish the Brandon report in full.

The HSE published an executive summary of the Brandon report in December.

Deputy Pringle said: “The revelation of the abusers and victims in the HSE report that was reported today in The Irish Times is shocking.

“I think if we didn’t already know it, this shows that the HSE are incapable of investigating and reporting on this issue. We now need an independent public inquiry to find out what happened in centres for disabled people throughout Donegal.

“It’s clear from this report and the Brandon report that staff on the ground acted to highlight the need to deal with these issues, but management at all levels within the HSE failed staff, residents, families and all citizens of this country.”

Deputy Pringle first raised the issue of the Brandon report in the Dáil last July, after working with a whistleblower who had come to him in 2016. Deputy Pringle said he raised the issue in the Dáil due to the lack of an adequate response during those years.

The Brandon report, a National Independent Review Panel report, had found that upwards of 18 intellectually disabled residents had been subjected to at least 108 incidents of “sustained” abuse by a resident between 2003 and 2016. The resident had been given the pseudonym Brandon.

This latest review, from the HSE, looked at the period from 1991, when Brandon entered the now-closed Sean O’Hare unit in St Joseph’s Hospital, Stranorlar, to 2002.

Deputy Pringle said: “It’s time that the HSE were publicly held to account for those failings.”