Disability groups angry over abuse report

DISABILITY groups and campaigners have criticised the long-delayed report into 33 years of child abuse at two Brothers of Charity centres in Galway.

Yesterday, campaigners claimed the report was downgraded because victims were mentally disabled and in some cases unable to articulate their experiences.

Disability advocates Inclusion Ireland said its members were angry and saddened by the contents of the report on sexual and physical abuse at Kilcornan residential home in Clarinbridge and the Holy Family School in Renmore.

Its chief executive Deirdre Carroll said despite the shocking crimes revealed by Dr Kevin McCoy’s report, children with mental disabilities were still as vulnerable as ever.

“We are angry because as an organisation we have been calling for the introduction of national standards and inspection of residential centres and community homes for children and adults with disabilities since the mid-1990s and nothing has been done.

“There are currently nearly 400 children with disabilities living in residential settings, whose homes are not inspected and where there are no national care standards applicable.

“These children are among the most vulnerable in society, yet we offer them less protection than other children at risk,” she said.

Ms Carroll called for proposed national standards to be put on a statutory basis and implemented across the board because voluntary codes of practice could not be policed.

Ms Carroll was supported by the Ombudsman for Children Emily Logan, who said everybody with a duty of care to vulnerable children must take responsibility for protecting them.

“At present, there are no independent inspections of these residential care facilities, and this is an anomaly in our approach to child protection,” she said.

London-based therapist and activist Margaret Kennedy was previously fired by the Brothers of Charity for publicising an internal report on child abuse in Galway.

Yesterday, she told RTÉ’s Joe Duffy show the state had failed children with disabilities and by failing to reform the systems, it was continuing to fail them.

She questioned why135 victims had reported incidents against the Brothers of Charity to the Residential Institutions Redress Board but only 21 were interviewed in Dr McCoy’s report.

Responding to the report, Minister of State with responsibility for disability Jimmy Devins said the Government was committed to introducing full policing of residential facilities.

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