Monday 28 May 2018

Áras Attracta to explain to court how compensation paid to three vulnerable residents will be spent

Áras Attracta
Áras Attracta
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

THE DIRECTOR of Services at Áras Attracta has appeared in court to provide details on how compensation money paid to three vulnerable residents assaulted at the facility will be spent.

The three residents, one of whom has the mental age of a toddler, were assaulted by five Áras Attracta workers on various dates in November 2014.

Last month four of the workers were sentenced to community service. A fifth worker, Pat McLoughlin (56) Lalibela, Mayfield,Claremorris, Co Mayo, who was sentenced to four months prison is currently appealing the sentence.

All five workers were also ordered to pay compensation to their victims by Judge Mary Devins who said the money should be used on things that give the women enjoyment and not on items that should be provided by the HSE.

Suzanne Keenan gave Judge Mary Devins a breakdown on how the funds will be spent on the three victims.

Miss A, who was sat on by staff, has to date received €1,500 compensation. Ms Keenan told Ballina District Court that they wished to buy her a tricycle.

The trike costs €3,295 and the court heard Miss A had other funds to go towards the cost. The trike was recommended by a physical therapist.

Judge Devins noted that Miss A loved having her head under a tap. She queried if the resident has access to a hairdresser to have her hair washed regularly.

Ms Keenan said Miss A had access to a hairdresser “whenever she needs it” and attended the facility’s hydrotherapy pool service.

She added that Miss A now directs her own care and is supported by two staff.

“It’s directed very much by what she wants to do,” she added.

She said the tricycle would allow Miss A to access outside under the supervision of her care staff.

The court heard that Miss B, a non-verbal resident who was slapped and dropped into a chair, received €600 in compensation which had been spent on clothing and personal items for her bedroom including a mirror and two pictures.

The compensation of €1,100 for a third victim Miss C, who was pushed into a chair and hit on the face with a piece of paper will be spent on sensory items unique to her, clothes and make-up.

The items included a bubble column, similar to a lava lamp, bean bag, sensory blanket, touch light and vibrating mug.

Ms Devins queried why the funds had yet to be spent on two of the residents.

“It’s all taking a long time. I had hoped you would come in and tell me it was spent,” she added.

Ms Keenan said the facility needed to ensure the money was well spent on the residents.

Joan Gill, 62, of Dublin Road, Swinford, Co Mayo, pleaded guilty to three counts of assault in the sitting room area of Bungalow Three on various dates in November 2014.She was given 240 hours of community service in lieu of a prison sentence and was ordered to pay a total of €1,500 to two of her victims.

Christina Delaney, 35, Seefin, Lissatava, Hollymount, Co Mayo; Joan Walsh, 42, Carrowilkeen, Curry, Co Sligo; and Kathleen King, 56, Knockshanvally, Straide, Foxford, Co Mayo, were each given 120 hours of community service in lieu of a prison sentence and were each ordered to pay €600 to their respective victims.

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