An Áras Attracta care assistant who repeatedly pulled a resident along the floor and force-fed another was “horrified” when she saw RTÉ’s footage.
Joan Gill, aged 63, of 35, Dublin Rd, Swinford, pleaded guilty to three counts of assault on patients at her workplace on separate dates in November 2014.
Secret recordings showed Ms Gill pull Miss A across the common room floor of Bungalow 3 by her hood.
“Lie there until you calm down,” she is heard telling the patient after instructing a colleague to turn Miss A’s favourite chair upside down.
A few seconds earlier Ms Gill grabbed Miss A by her top, close to her neck, and pushed her into the same chair. “Get off that chair once more,” she is heard saying. “Keep back,” she tells staff when Miss A gets out of her seat. Three days earlier the defendant was seen slapping Miss A.
A separate clip showed Ms Gill force-feeding a second elderly resident, Miss B, on November 6. She held the woman’s arm back and knelt on it while she fed her from a beaker. The resident attempted to stop the feeding by hitting out.
Counsel for Ms Gill, Brendan McDonagh, said his client was “deeply apologetic and frankly ashamed and very, very remorseful”.
“When she looked at the clips she herself was horrified.” He said Ms Gill was aware the victims were “utterly blameless”. She apologised to the residents and their families: “I’m instructed to apologise openly and remorsefully.”
He told Judge Mary Devins the level of media interest in the case had applied “an extra layer of difficulty and penalty and punishment to Miss Gill”.
Of the staff charged with assaulting residents, she is the only one who lives in the town of Swinford and is effectively a prisoner in her own home: “She feels like a social pariah,” he said.
Ms Gill began working in Aras Attracta as a domestic assistant in 2000 before being promoted to care assistant.
She has taken early retirement .
Mr McDonagh suggested the Probation Act might be appropriate. Judge Devins adjourned the case to February 23 to consider it for penalties when she will make her decision against four other staff charged with one count of assault each.
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