Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle again presses Government on need for independent inquiry into Brandon report and related reports

Pringle again presses Government on need for independent inquiry into Brandon report and related reports

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, has again pressed Government on the need for an independent inquiry into the Brandon report and related reports on allegations of sexual abuse at HSE-run facilities in Donegal.

Addressing the Taoiseach in the Dáil today, Deputy Pringle said: “I am raising an issue today I have raised on numerous occasions with you over the last couple of years. It must be raised as often as possible so that it will at some stage be dealt with comprehensively. The HSE have to realise it is not going to go away.”

The deputy said the Brandon report had already described a bad situation, saying he believed ‘Brandon’ himself was also failed by the HSE, and also, “how the families were let down by the HSE at all stages, not told the truth about their loved ones and even to this day some of them have not heard the full story from the HSE.”

The deputy noted that a couple of weeks ago national newspapers reported a validation report carried out by the HSE itself that identified an additional 10 abusers in Ard Gréine Court and the Sean O’Hare unit in Ballybofey, where ‘Brandon’ also lived.

Deputy Pringle said: “One of the most shocking things about this report was that it was prepared by a trawl of files within the centre, so all this information was on file in the centre, which means that management knew about it all along.

“I think that it is worth saying again, Taoiseach. HSE management knew all about these cases at all times,” he said. Deputy Pringle was speaking today during Leader’s Questions.

Deputy Pringle said: “Families read about the new cases in the paper.” He said some have been contacted by the HSE to tell them that their loved one was abused by someone other than ‘Brandon’ and some were told that their loved one was not abused.

The deputy said: “But we must question why this is, how at this stage the families are finding out like this.

“I believe that all the families with loved ones in Ard Gréine, whether they have been abused or not, should be offered independent advocacy, even at this late stage.

“Taoiseach, we cannot rely on the HSE at this stage to do the right thing. As if we needed confirmation, but this shows that they have let down residents, families and their own staff in the most horrible way,” he said. He asked the Taoiseach when Minister Anne Rabbitte’s report on the Brandon case will be forthcoming and repeated his call for a public inquiry, along the lines of the Muckamore Abbey inquiry in the North.

Deputy Pringle said: “Will you support and make sure that a full public inquiry will take place so that we can be sure that the families, residents and staff receive full information as to what went on in Ard Gréine and indeed all disability services within Donegal but also, I think, the HSE nationally as well.

“The HSE nationally have tried to block the discussion of this case as much as they can, but at least they cannot yet control the Dáil,” he said.