No major failings: Donagh report

Published
Image caption, The report found no major failings in the health trust's handling of the case

A report into the Western Health Trust's involvement in the case of four brothers who abused children in Donagh has found no major failings.

The report was ordered by the Health Minister and carried out by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA).

It found the trust fulfilled its duties in relation to the care and treatment of the McDermott brothers

It also commended the work of health staff and social workers.

The report said the complex case created significant difficulties in delivering care and treatment to the McDermott brothers and their family and makes seven recommendations.

James and Owen Roe McDermott were two of four brothers involved in what one judge described as a "tidal wave of abuse" in Donagh, stretching back over a 30-year period.

They were deemed mentally unfit to stand trial and returned to the village of Donagh in June.

Vital information

However, they subsequently voluntarily agreed to be admitted to a hospital for treatment.

John McDermott was jailed for nine years in June for his role in the abuse while Peter Paul McDermott took his own life during his trial on abuse charges involving two young boys.

Among the shortcomings the RQIA report identified were the trust's failure to advise the local GAA club about the need for child protection arrangements.

It also noted the difficulties of communicating vital information to schools during school holidays.

The RQIA also found that trust staff were initially unaware of their roles and responsibilities under the new Public Protection Arrangements in relation to sex offenders. However this did not affect their response to the case.

The report said that some survivors felt the trust did not offer them care or support, and has recommended that survivors of sexual abuse are told of the support available to them as soon as they make a complaint to the police.

Two of the McDermott brothers were given supervision and treatment orders and the report recommends that all health trusts should be asked to share their experience, and that the relevant legislation needs to be reviewed.

It also recommends that the western health trust should continue to work with partner organisations to maintain engagement with the Donagh community.

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