Roisin Shortall TD

Government must now fast-track safeguarding legislation for vulnerable adults 

The catastrophic failure to investigate sexual assault complaints in a HSE nursing home must mark a turning point in how the State safeguards vulnerable adults, according to Social Democrats health spokesperson Róisín Shortall.

“The report by the National Independent Review Panel (NIRP), which was set up to examine governance issues following the rape of a resident three years ago, is truly shocking. Among its most damning findings is that other female residents at the facility had made similar complaints against the healthcare assistant convicted in that case. However, these allegations were not believed, reported or followed up on.

“According to the NIRP, it appears that these residents’ claims of abuse were attributed to clinical causes such as delusions, hallucinations, delirium, confusion or urinary tract infections.

“The HSE must fully pursue the complaints of the other nine residents and work closely to identify issues and shortcomings in nursing home procedures and systems as a matter of urgency.

“There needs to be an immediate review of all systems for reporting and receiving incidents of resident abuse, with binding protocols put in place.

“In tandem with this, the Government must expedite its long-promised safeguarding legislation.

“Any review of safeguarding governance structures must ensure there is national operational leadership for social work via the role of Chief Social Worker, as called for by the Irish Association of Social Workers.

“This report will make for distressing reading for relatives of the victims and should be a watershed moment in how we safeguard vulnerable adults in private and public healthcare settings.”

June 21, 2023

Back to all Posts