Sinn Fein spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has said that no stone can be left unturned to reveal the full extent of physical and sexual abuse at the HSE-run nursing home at the centre of the ‘Emily’ report.
Deputy Cullinane was commenting after a safeguarding review team found that there were reasonable grounds for concern for 21 residents regarding physical or sexual abuse at the home.
He added that this devastating report must be a watershed moment, and called on government to bring in legislation and robust procedures to protect older and vulnerable adults.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“Today’s review, which found that there was reasonable grounds for concern for 21 residents regarding physical or sexual abuse, is sobering, and will cause an unimaginable deal of distress for the families and friends of the residents of this nursing home.
“No stone can be left unturned when it comes to establishing the extent of abuse that took place. We owe it to the victims and families to thoroughly investigate what happened, how it was allowed to happen, and to ensure that it never happens again.
“The fact that none of this would have come to light were it not for the bravery of one patient, referred to using the pseudonym Emily, to come forward, is a shocking indictment of the failure of the state to safeguard our most vulnerable.
“The review into the handling of this case revealed that other residents had made allegations against this same healthcare assistant in the past. These allegations were not followed up on – some were dismissed as residents being confused or hallucinating.
“Government must act now to prevent such violence and abuse being committed again, and they must hold organisations and individuals to account for failing to protect people at risk.
“Our older people need love, support and, most importantly, protection in their golden years.
“There are steps that the government can take to improve protections for older people and vulnerable adults in care, and they need to take them now.
“Adult safeguarding legislation has been long promised but needs to be delivered – to put on a statutory footing robust legal obligations that service providers must adhere to.
“We also need a Chief Health and Social Care Officer who has the authority and responsibility to oversee the implementation of that legislation, and we need safeguarding teams given the power of initiative to inspect and follow-up where there are areas of concern.
“We must learn from this devastating report, there is so much work to be done to protect and safeguard older and vulnerable people.”