Dáil debates

Thursday, 16 December 2021

Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions


12:00 pm

Photo of Pádraig Mac LochlainnPádraig Mac Lochlainn (Donegal, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

Today the HSE is to publish the executive summary of the long-awaited Brandon report into abuse at St. Joseph's Community Hospital in Stranorlar, County Donegal. My colleague, Deputy Doherty, among others, has been calling for the full report to be published. It has taken too long to get to this point. It has been a long and harrowing road for the families of those who suffered the most horrendous abuse. They hoped that this report would finally give them the answers they have been waiting on for years.

We now know that more than 100 occurrences of sexually inappropriate behaviour were carried out by one resident who has been given the pseudonym "Brandon" in the report and that there were 18 victims. We know that Brandon was moved from time to time but while such moves gave respite to victims and staff in one area, they allowed Brandon to carry on abusing new victims in the area to which he was moved. This was the most awful of situations. These victims were the most vulnerable in our society. They were non-verbal and placed all of their trust in centre and the HSE to protect them. That obviously did not happen. Those victims were failed. After the bravery of a whistleblower and after the reports to HIQA and An Garda Síochána, the individual identified as Brandon was eventually isolated and the abuse stopped.

This can never, ever be allowed to happen again. Even after all of this and despite public calls for the publication of the report, the full report is still not being published. The executive summary, while detailed, is still not the full report. The families and the public need to know all of the facts. Why continue to drag this out? The families and the public deserve the full truth. To properly protect our most vulnerable patients going forward, we need to learn from the mistakes here. The executive summary is not enough to do that. There are continuing questions for the HSE. The executive summary raises questions regarding the management and leadership of the HSE during this period.

I am also annoyed that the publication of the executive summary has come on the last day of this Dáil term. Given the gravity of what is contained therein, sufficient time must be allocated in the Dáil to debate the report and its findings in full. Will the Government press the HSE to publish the full report? I am sure that the Tánaiste will agree that there needs to be accountability for the failures in how all of this was managed. Given the seriousness of the issues, will he commit to providing time to debate this report in full at the first opportunity when the Dáil resumes in the new year?


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