Taoiseach does not rule out inquiry into Áras Attracta abuse

Enda Kenny calls the mistreatment at Mayo disability centre ‘sickening and infuriating’

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he does not rule out an independent inquiry into the mistreatment of residents at the disability centre in Swinford, Co Mayo.

He said there was a need to first conclude the current investigations that are underway into Áras Attracta.

“We will see what happens, put that in the system… It should not happen anywhere else,’’ he said.

The Taoiseach was replying in the Dáil to Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin and Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, who said there was a need for an independent inquiry.


Mr Kenny joined with the two party leaders in praising the RTÉ Prime Time programme, which exposed the mistreatment.

He added he found the revelations in the programme “absolutely sickening’’.

“This was frightening, sickening, infuriating…people legitimately asked question how could this happen in 2014 with trained nurses, healthcare workers,’’ he added.

“It was not an example of care; it was an example of control over fragile, vulnerable, voiceless people.’’

Mr Kenny said the content of the programme had been handed over to the Garda and he did not want to say anything that would prejudice the outcome of the investigation on whether or not criminal prosecutions would take place.

He added the chief executives of the service providers had been called together for a meeting next Tuesday.

It was being asked, he said, whether this was an isolated incident.

Mr Martin said the House would be united in anger and horror at the revelations.

They were truly shocking and represented the violation of the human rights of senior citizens with intellectual disabilities.

“They had their basic human rights violated to an extraordinary degree,’’ he added.

“They were subject to torture, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and the treatment was, without question, degrading.’’

It was clear that an inquiry, independent of the Health Service Executive and the Health Information and Quality Authority, was needed, he said.

Mr Adams said the programme had provided a shocking insight into the treatment of vulnerable citizens with intellectual disabilities.

“What we witnessed was nothing less than the vile physical, mental and emotional abuse of the most vulnerable of our citizens,’’ he added.

Mr Adams said a fully independent, root and branch investigation should be put in place.

Michael O'Regan

Michael O'Regan

Michael O’Regan is a former parliamentary correspondent of The Irish Times