Union calls for better hospital security in wake of Joe McCarron case

INMO general secretary says medical staff cannot effectively prevent access to patients

The general secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) Phil Ní Sheaghdha has called for better security in hospitals because of an increase in assaults, verbal abuse and issues around outside access to patients.

Ms Ní Sheaghdha said the recent incident in Letterkenny Hospital where a patient was encouraged to leave despite being very ill with Covid-19 highlighted the issues being faced by healthcare workers.

The patient, Joe McCarron (67) from Dungloe left Letterkenny hospital when encouraged to do so by an anti-vaccine advocate. Staff tried to persuade him not to leave.

Mr McCarron was readmitted to the hospital a day later and put on a ventilator. He subsequently died without regaining consciousness.


Nurses and healthcare staff were “busy enough” and could not effectively deal with people trying to influence vulnerable patients.

Security needed to be reviewed in all settings, she said.

Vaccine hesitancy was not an issue among her members, added Ms Ní Sheaghdha. There were anti-vaccination groups trying “to get inroads in some areas”.

The incidence of assault and verbal abuse had increased which added pressure for staff who were already coping with two different strands of care - Covid and non-Covid - and there were real concerns about reduced numbers of staff.