Saturday 21 April 2018

Long battle for access to Lota records

Brian McDonald

MARGARET Best fought and won a long and arduous battle to get access to her son's records from Lota.

She initially sought them in the early 1990s in pre-paration for a court action against drug company the Welcome Foundation, which manufactured the three-in-one vaccine for infants. The damages claim was settled in 1993 for €3,492,500.

In 1999 she again applied for Kenneth's records but a list of documents supplied to her fell short of what she expected. She reapplied for all records under the Free-dom of Information Act.

But two years later she had received only partial records and sought an internal review under the act, seeking full records.

In November, 2001 she got the additional files and discovered for the first time, the distressing details of her son's life at Lota.

In 2003 Mrs Best applied to the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse to provide evidence of what occurred in Lota, but the commission also ruled that Kenneth, because of his mental handicap, was not in a position to recount any abuse he may have suffered.

Mrs Best said: "Kenneth has been both a silent victim and a witness to the appalling treatment he suffered at the hands of the Brothers of Charity in Lota. The records obtained from that facility ... speak for him and they also speak for the Brothers of Charity."

Irish Independent

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