Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Disability, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony has said that it is not acceptable that people who have openly admitted physically abusing people with disabilities in their care are allowed to remain employed by the HSE, or by agencies contracted by the HSE or other State agencies.
Deputy Murphy O’Mahony was commenting after reports in the media, based on FOI requests to HIQA, suggest that there is widespread abuse of people in the care of the State by staff members.
“I don’t see how it is acceptable that someone who has admitted to physically abusing patients is allowed to remain in employment.
“This just isn’t on. There can be toleration for any form of abuse, be it physical, emotional or sexual, and allowing staff to remain in employment sends out a very bad sign that it’s tolerated.
“What is very concerning is that certain members of management were seen to have been covering up allegations of abuse reported to them. This is wilful negligence and a dereliction of duty.
“As part of the FOI responses, it is clear that high levels of abuse remain in the Irish care sector. Despite years of revelations, there is a sense that it is allowed by senior management.
“With the coming into effect of mandatory reporting of suspected abuse for minors, there is now a legal requirement to report any concerns or suspicions to Tusla. While there has always been a professional and moral responsibility to report such suspicions, this legal requirement sets the bar rightly higher.
“I would encourage any staff member or anyone with any information regarding any type of abuse to immediately report it to the authorities so it can be fully investigated.
“The only way to stamp it out is to make it absolutely clear that anyone with a suspicion must report it. There can be no ambiguity about the necessity to report suspicions and allegations,” concluded Murphy O’Mahony.