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Families left high and dry amid allegations of nepotism at St John of God’s, Drumcar – Munster

15 July, 2016 - by Imelda Munster TD


Sinn Féin TD for Louth/East Meath, Imelda Munster has hit out at the HSE and management at St Mary’s Drumcar, run by St John of God’s, for allowing a situation to develop where upwards of 51 families have been left without respite services for almost three weeks.

This was due to the HSE pressing St Mary’s at St John of Gods to accept an emergency patient, despite knowing St Mary’s Drumcar has no emergency beds in their service, and in the full knowledge that it would result in the cancellation of pre-booked respite beds for upwards of 51 families.

Deputy Munster said:

“I have serious concerns over recent revelations around secret top-up payments to senior staff at St John of God’s, and the fact that CEO John Pepper has employed five of his relatives, including his sons and wife, at the Drumcar campus.

“It is outrageous that these families have been left high and dry without respite over the summer months, with cuts to services meaning that patients at their Daycare Centre are now expected to pay €5 a day for their lunch, and a 44 year man with intellectual disabilities is sent to a nursing home for respite.

“Despite funding St John of God’s services to the tune of €180million, the HSE seems to be disinterested in the matter, and have allowed these practices to go on for years, unchecked.

“The manner in which these respite services were cancelled, despite families having pre-booked them to coincide with their much-needed holidays can only be described as reckless. There seems to be a major disparity in how service-users and their families are treated, compared to how Mr Pepper and his family reap the benefits of the service through top-ups and jobs for the family.” 

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