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Tuesday 11 December 2018

Patient paid damages after sex attacks claim

Ann O'Loughlin

Hospital settles for ?75,000 over accusations of assault by nurse

A WOMAN who claims she was sexually abused by former Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Patrick Dunne yesterday settled an action for damages for ?75,000.

Donna Conway had been a patient at the Central Mental Hospital Dundrum seven years ago when she alleges she was sexually assaulted by Mr Dunne, who was a psychiatric nurse in the hospital at the time. The claims were denied.

It was alleged in court papers that Ms Conway was subjected to regular sexual assaults by Mr Dunne over a five-week period in 1999.

When the case came before the High Court yesterday Mr Justice Richard Johnson was told the matter was settled and could be struck out. The settlement is without any admission of liablility.

Donna Conway of Ballyfermot, Dublin had sued the East Coast Area Health Board which is responsible for the management and control of the Central Mental Hospital Dundrum as well as Patrick Dunne who was a psychiatric nurse there at the time. Mr Dunne no longer works at the hospital.

Outside court Ms Conway, in a brief statement, said the pain which she has suffered and continues to suffers as a result of the alleged incicents live with her every day.

"I would like to thank my family for their love and support which has helped me cope with what would otherwise have been unbearable pain," Ms Conway said.

Ms Conway had claimed damages for negligence and breach of duty and breach of statutory duty from the Health Board and damages for breach of her consitutional right to bodily integrity against the Health Board and Mr Dunne as well as damages for trespass to the person.

Ms Conway was sent in January 1999 from Mountjoy Prison to the Central Mental Hospital Dundrum, Dublin for treatment.

Duty

It was claimed that it was the duty of the Health Board to take all reasonable steps to ensure Ms Conway would be safe whilst residing at the hospital and receiving treatment.

It was also claimed it was the duty of the Health Board to protect her from harm, attack and sexual abuse from any person including Mr Dunne, who was a psychiatric nurse there, and that the Health Board, negligently and in breach of its duties, failed to take all reasonable steps to ensure Ms Conway was safe while residing at the hospital.

The Health Board, it was alleged, failed to ensure that she was afforded protection from harm, attack and sexual abuse by Mr Dunne.

According to court documents it is alleged that during a period of five weeks comnmencing in or about January 1999, Mr Dunne assaulted and sexually abused Ms Conway at the Central Mental Hospital.

She claimed she suffered and sustained severe personal injuries both mental and physical.

In particular it was claimed that the acts were occasioned by reason of the negligence and breach of duty of the Health Board in failing to make any or any proper inquiries prior to employing Mr Dunne to ensure he was a qualified and suitable person to work with female residents at the Hospital. It was also alleged that the Health Board failed to adequately or at all control or monitor the activiities of Mr Dunne.

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