Wednesday 13 December 2017

Five Áras Attracta nurses get injunctions against HSE

Áras Attracta in Co Mayo. Photo:
Áras Attracta in Co Mayo. Photo:

Tim Healy

Five psychiatric nurses at the áras Attracta facility in Co Mayo have been granted injunctions restraining a HSE internal investigation into complaints against them.

The High Court orders also restrain the HSE from embarking on any further investigations unless those comply with its "Trust in Care"and disciplinary procedures.

The five - Lyndsey Conway, Carmel Doherty, Mary Prendergast, Vidhya Maverly and Marie Kilcoyne - are among 17 áras Attracta staff being investigated arising from complaints concerning matters featured in undercover filming by a reporter with RTÉ's 'Prime Time Investigates' in 2014 of events at the facility, which caters for adults with intellectual disabilities.


The injunctions apply pending the outcome of the full legal challenge by the five alleging the investigations breach their contractual rights.

The HSE had displayed a "reprehensible" attitude to the efforts of the nurses' trade union, the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA), to resolve internally "serious issues" concerning conduct of the investigations, Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy said.

Among the issues raised was the HSE's failure to consult with the PNA about the makeup of a four-member investigatory team formally established last March.

The nurses had made out a strong case that the right to be consulted was "of real substance" and part of agreed procedures the HSE could not depart from at a "whim".

The HSE made clear it would not accept any changes to the membership of the investigation team and refused to participate in procedures before the Labour Relations Commission as sought by the PNA, she also said.

The HSE had argued serious claims about the entire service provided at áras Attracta required it to move speedily, she said.

The court "fails to understand" why the seriousness of the issue required the HSE to depart from agreed procedures when there should be strict adherence to the procedures in precisely those circumstances.

The five will remain suspended on full pay pending the outcome of the full legal challenge.

None of the five is subject to any criminal proceedings.

Irish Independent

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