Adams calls for inquiry into sexual abuse allegations in Lourdes Hospital
Speaking during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil today the Sinn Féin president and Louth TD Gerry Adams has called on the Taoiseach to “instigate an inquiry into the sexual abuse of patients in the Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda”.
Teachta Adams remarks follow this morning’s press conference by Dignity4Patients in Dublin.
The organisation was launching its independent survey into the relationship between healthcare workers and the public. Bernadette Sullivan, the Executive Director of Dignity4Patients, was critical of the failure by the Health authorities and successive governments over 17 years to hold an appropriate inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse of patients.
Speaking during Leaders’ Questions, Teachta Adams said:“Taoiseach this morning the Dignity4Patients group presented a survey showing that 18% of respondents believe they have been subjected to inappropriate action or comment while in the care of a healthcare professional.
“Taoiseach it is now 17 years since complaints of sexual abuse of patients at Our Lady of Lourdes hospital in Drogheda were first made.
“It is three years since James Reilly TD, now the Minister for Health, called for an immediate inquiry into the sexual abuse of patients in the Lourdes Hospital. “And Taoiseach you voted for that motion. So too while in opposition did the Tanaiste, and the President.
“Níl mé ag ardú an ábhar seo díreach toisc go bhfuileamar anseo ag cur ceisteanna chughat inniu. Táim á h-ardú de bharr go bhfuil sé tábhachtach dona saoránaigh seo ata fós ag fulaingt de bharr an ídiú ghnéis a déanadh orthu.Tá trí bliana imithe ó d’iarr James Reilly go mbeadh fiosrú ann ar an ábhar seo.
“Taoiseach, last November I asked you about this issue. You volunteered to meet the opposition. You promised a meeting again before Christmas and since then you have repeated that promise.
“I am still waiting. So are the other opposition leaders.
“But more importantly over 200 citizens, victims and survivors are still waiting and every day and every delay brings fresh pain and anguish to the victims.
“Taoiseach 17 years is too long. Especially given the all-party support for a commission of inquiry and there is no reason whatsoever why this cannot proceed immediately. There are sexual abusers in all sectors of our society. Taoiseach there are sexual abusers in families. My father was a sexual abuser. So I have some sense of the anguish and the pain that these citizens are going through.
“I meet them regularly and I know every time they meet that that’s a revisiting of all that happened to them.
“It was good enough in opposition for Fine Gael, for Labour to support a commission of inquiry. There’s no reason at all why it cannot be established and established in terms acceptable to the victims and survivors.”
The Sinn Féin leader asked the Taoiseach to give a very clear commitment to hold an inquiry and until the inquiry is held Dignity4Patients, who are advocating for this group for the last 17 years, should get ‘appropriate funding’.
The Sinn Féin leader praised the courage of Bernadette Sullivan – “a very brave woman” - who exposed this abuse.