Press release

HSE publishes the report undertaken by independent safeguarding expert Jackie McIlroy following her review of reports relating to the Emily case

The HSE has today, Friday 22nd September, published the report of independent adult safeguarding expert Jackie McIlroy. 

In July this year, HSE CEO Bernard Gloster requested Jackie McIlroy to review the report of the National Independent Review Panel, and the report of the safeguarding review - both undertaken in the aftermath of a serious sexual assault on a resident (pseudonym Emily) by a HSE staff member known as Mr Z at a HSE community nursing unit in April 2020. Ms McIlroy was also asked to undertake her own enquiries.

The CEO requested Ms McIlroy undertake this review in order to advise him if a further examination of individual records was required to identify past harm. As part of her work, she met with families and staff.

Arising from the trial there is an order prohibiting the identification of Emily and of the nursing home concerned. These orders are important and on behalf of Emily’s family, the HSE again ask all commentators to focus on the issues and not her personal circumstances.

Commenting Bernard Gloster, CEO, HSE, said:

“I would like to once again offer my deepest apologies to Emily’s family and recognise the devastating impact of this horrific attack. I have met them again this week, and they have been provided with a copy of Jackie McIlroy’s report. The report has also been shared with the families of the other residents about whom safeguarding concerns were previously identified and referrals made to An Garda Síochána.”

This report from Ms McIlroy notes that the previous safeguarding process was undertaken on a phased basis. An initial decision was taken to review a group of 79 resident files, the outcome of which would inform possible further file review. It was determined by the Serious Incident Management Team at that time, that it was a priority to complete the review of this first group of 79 resident files by November 2021.

In order to meet that timeframe, the safeguarding team reviewed the files of 32 residents in this group – reviewing those files where concerns had been previously identified by staff or families.  As outlined in the Safeguarding Report which was published in July, a referral to An Garda Síochána outlining safeguarding concerns was made in the case of 21 of these 32 residents’ files.

Continuing Bernard Gloster said:

“In her report, Jackie McIlroy finds that the decision not to review the remaining files of the group of 79 residents was a missed opportunity. The HSE absolutely accepts Ms McIlroy’s view on this, and her recommendation that a further investigation of residents’ files is undertaken to cover the period of Mr Z’s employment. She has advised us that in her view it is highly probable that if a further examination of residents’ records is conducted, further indicators of possible harm will be found.

Mr Z worked at this unit for 16 years, and over that period of time several hundred residents were cared for there. We are currently developing a process to undertake this review and intend to write to the families of all residents at this unit during the period of Mr Z’s employment. We intend to do this in collaboration with residents or where appropriate their next of kin.

We absolutely recognise how difficult and distressing this will be for families and we are committed to undertaking this process as sensitively and compassionately as possible, fully respecting the wishes of individual families. We note Ms McIlroy statement that ‘the findings from any further examination of records, although likely to be inconclusive, has the potential to have a significant impact on families and their wellbeing,’ therefore we will ensure that we work closely with families throughout this process and provide them with any necessary supports”.

Jackie McIlroy’s report to the CEO

Anyone affected by this story and concerned about sexual assault please contact the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre at 1800 778888.

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