Wednesday 21 August 2019

Áras Attracta staff claim HSE probe 'flawed'

Áras Attracta: staff have taken court proceedings
Áras Attracta: staff have taken court proceedings

Aodhan O'Faolain

Five staff of the Áras Attracta care home at the centre of abuse allegations have launched High Court proceedings over an investigation and disciplinary process against them by the HSE.

The five are employed as nursing staff at the residential unit in Swinford, Co Mayo.

An investigation was launched into the home after an RTÉ 'Prime Time Investigates' programme, broadcast late last year, purported to show scenes of abuse at the HSE-run facility.

Lawyers for the five yesterday claimed the HSE investigation process is "procedurally flawed" and in breach of fair procedures. The grounds include that it is allegedly not being conducted by a panel of persons agreed to by all parties before the investigation began.

Marguerite Bolger SC, for the five, argued the investigation was commenced before any complaint against them was upheld under the HSE's Trust in Care Policy. That policy sets down the procedures as to how certain allegations against staff members are managed.

Counsel said her clients fear matters under investigation, which they were notified of some months ago, have been "pre-determined".

In their action, they are seeking injunctions preventing the HSE from terminating their employment, and an injunction preventing the investigation from proceeding unless the complaints against them are upheld under the Trust in Care Policy.

They claim the HSE must obtain agreement from them and their trade union on the persons appointed to the investigation panel before any inquiry commences.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan granted permission, on an ex-parte basis, to serve notice of the proceedings on the HSE.

Irish Independent

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