Settlement letter from Brothers of Charity and HSE a ‘charter for whistleblowers’
Care workers and others can raise concerns ‘outside of the institution if necessary’
Dr Margaret Kennedy: successfully took a High Court action against the HSE and the Brothers of Charity. Photograph: Cyril Byrne.
A whistleblower who successfully took a High Court action against the HSE and the Brothers of Charity has drawn attention to an “extremely important” sentence in a letter of settlement received from those parties this week.
Dr Margaret Kennedy was contracted as an independent trainer and consultant on disability, abuse and client protection to Brothers of Charity staff in Galway between 2000 and 2003.
In 2003 she leaked a report which was critical of conditions and practices at the Kilcornan residence for the intellectually disabled and run by the Brothers of Charity to The Irish Times and then minister for health Micheál Martin.
Dr Kennedy said then that anyone reading the report “cannot fail to see that the service is sub-standard, infringes human rights and is profoundly abusive”.
Her contract with the Brothers of Charity was not renewed. As part of a High Court settlement this week, the HSE and the Brothers of Charity acknowledged in their letter “the professionalism and high standards with which Dr Kennedy conducted her training courses” with Brothers of Charity staff.
The letter concluded: “We accept that it is the right and obligation of staff to have recourse to raise concerns in the most appropriate forum to protect and advocate for the rights of people with intellectual disability.”
Dr Kennedy told The Irish Times the sentence was a whistleblowers’ charter for “all care workers and others” to raise concerns “outside of the institution if necessary”.