Sister of disabled resident says she tried to highlight care concerns for three years

Eamonn Kennedy (44) admitted to hospital while a resident of Redwood care facility

The sister of an intellectually disabled man has said she tried to highlight concerns over the restraint of people with intellectual disabilities at Redwood care facility for the past three years.

Maeve Kennedy said her brother Eamonn (44) was admitted to hospital following injuries he sustained while a resident of the centre, which yesterday was the subject of a highly critical report by Health Information and Quality Authority inspectors.

“I had major concerns over standards there,” she said. “I was never allowed to go to his bedroom. I witnessed a number of alarming incidents there. He lived at home for 38 years without a mark, but that changed when he went in there.”

Medical notes show Mr Kennedy, who is mildly intellectually disabled, was admitted to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda with marked body bruising and lacerations to the head after a fall at the facility.


An independent medical report Ms Kennedy commissioned from Dr Seamus O’Reilly, a consultant in emergency medicine, suggests the falls may have been linked to the combination of drugs he was being administered.

‘Suspicious’ bruising

He also concluded that some of the bruising on his body was “suspicious of non-accidental injury” and was likely to have been sustained in attempts to restrain him.

“Eamonn sustained some injuries to his body over the period of time 22nd to 30th April [2011] that could be considered suspicious. It is probable that they were not all caused by accidental falls, but that some of the bruising was non accidental,” his report concluded.

Management at Redwood last night did not return media queries. In a statement in response to the Hiqa report, it said it had no further comment in light of legal concerns.

Ms Kennedy said her brother ended up spending five months in hospital recovering and was subsequently moved to another facility.

She feels her brother was being chemically restrained in order to make it easier for staff to control his challenging behaviour.

"Every time I raised concerns, I was reassured that everything was okay, or that everything was being done properly," she told The Irish Times. "But the Hiqa report shows what has been happening."

After her brother's hospitalisation, she says she was advised to report the issue to the Garda. A file was subsequently sent by gardaí at Laytown Garda station to the Director of Public Prosecutions who decided not to prosecute the case.

Ms Kennedy said she raised the issue with the Minister of State for Disability Kathleen Lynch a year ago and that she pledged to meet her in person to discuss the issue.

However, Ms Kennedy said she has since been unable to get a meeting with the Minister despite numerous requests.

Another relation of a former resident at the facility also expressed concern at the level of chemical restraint involving residents.

Linda Kletzander said her son Anthony (26) ended up being hospitalised after adverse reaction to medication he was administered. These drugs resulted in him being "spaced out and dribbling".

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent