Varadkar ‘ashamed’ to be associated with Áras Attracta

Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation ‘collectively apologise’

The Minister for Health says he is “ashamed” to be associated with a facility such as the Áras Attracta disability centre in Swinford, Co Mayo.

The Minister for Health says he is “ashamed” to be associated with a facility such as the Áras Attracta disability centre in Swinford, Co Mayo.

 

The Minister for Health says he is “ashamed” to be associated with a facility such as the Áras Attracta disability centre in Swinford, Co Mayo. Leo Varadkar said the behaviour of staff at the centre was “very disturbing, vile and inexcusable”.

“It was a bit like watching a horror movie, except the problem was it wasn’t a horror movie, it was real. As someone who really cares about our health service and our social care services, I’m ashamed to be associated with a facility like that.”

He said Áras Attracta was one of the most inspected in the State, but it was clear measures in place to safeguard vulnerable people were “not robust enough”.

“There is never any excuse for abuse,” he said on RTÉ radio. “What we saw was certain staff using their power to use other people as playthings, and to me that was just intolerable”.

He called for “undercover investigations” to be carried out by the HSE and for an advocacy campaign that would lead to community-based “passive surveillance”.

Minister for Primary and Social Care Kathleen Lynch said she was “shocked and distressed” by events at Áras Attracta, which she described as “extremely poor and unacceptable standards of care and mistreatment of vulnerable residents”.

Ombudsman Peter Tyndall said he was “shocked” at the “deeply disturbing scenes” from the centre, and said anyone who had a complaint about a HSE-run centre could contact his office for an independent examination of the complaint.

Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation general secretary Liam Doran, whose organisation represents nurses in the intellectual disability sector, said his entire membership wished to “collectively apologise” to the clients and their families.

Psychiatric Nurses Association general secretary Des Kavanagh said the practices were “totally unacceptable and have no place in professional nursing practice”.