Saturday 24 March 2018

Judge criticises health authority over abuse scandal at Áras Attracta

Pat McLoughlin Photo : Keith Heneghan / Phocus
Pat McLoughlin Photo : Keith Heneghan / Phocus

Tom Shiel

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) must bear responsibility for "a shocking abuse of power" in which patients were mistreated at the Áras Attracta care home, a judge has said.

Judge Rory MacCabe made the comment at the Circuit Criminal Court in Castlebar when Pat McLoughlin, of Claremorris, Co Mayo, appealed against the severity of a four-month prison sentence for assaulting a patient at the Áras complex on November 14, 2014.

Of five care staff who appeared in court earlier this year the clinical nursing manager (57) was the only one to receive a custodial sentence. Assault charges against the five were brought following a covert filming operation by the RTE investigations unit.

Defence counsel Conall MacCarthy told the court that McLoughlin had a 35-year unblemished record as a nurse. Judge MacCabe said HIQA must bear responsibility for the regime that existed at the care complex.

The judge allowed the appeal and imposed 240 hours of community service. "If I could impose more [community service] I would," he added.

Irish Independent

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