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Inspections were carried out at Morning Star Hostel - Ó Caoláin

8 February, 2006


Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said the Taoiseach’s Department has forwarded him a letter they received from the Department of Health and Children, that clearly states there was evidence of an inspection and regulatory function by the Department at the Regina Coeli Hostel (also known as the Morning Star Mother and Baby Unit), in which Marie Therese O’Loughlin claims she was the victim of neglect and serious injury. The Government, Deputy Ó Caoláin claims, has previously rejected this information.          

Addressing the Taoiseach in the Dáil this morning Deputy Ó Caoláin said, “Marie Therese O'Loughlin confirms that she was a victim of neglect and serious injury in what has become known as the Morning Star hostel in Dublin.  She alleges she was disgracefully ill-treated as a child in that institution.  However, she has been denied access to the redress process because the Government deemed that the so-called Morning Star hostel does not fall within the remit of the residential institutions redress board.

“Last evening I received a letter from the Taoiseach, comprising a cover note with an accompanying letter from the Department of Health and Children, having raised the matter of Marie Therese O'Loughlin's case with him.  The letter from the Department of Health and Children states clearly that the Regina Coeli hostel, which is the same institution as that referred to popularly as the Morning Star, was subject to inspection and regulation by the Department of Health and Children.  It states that a search of files related to the Regina Coeli hostel revealed that there was evidence of an inspection or regulatory function by the Department in regard to the hostel.

“This information was previously rejected here.  In this correspondence, the Department of Health and Children has confirmed that as far back as April 2005 it advised the Department of Education and Science that there was an inspection responsibility and it was carried out.  The letter also states that as far back as April 2005, the Department of Health and Children asked the Department of Education and Science to consider including this institution under the Residential Institutions Redress Act, a step that would allow Marie Therese the opportunity of stating her case before the board, seeking redress and to at last be heard.

“The Department of Education and Science continues to refuse what the Department of Health and Children as far back as April 2005 commended to that Department.  There is a scandal here where justice is being denied to an unfortunate woman.  Will the Taoiseach intervene directly in this matter?  Will he ensure through his good offices that the Department of Education and Science takes the appropriate steps in order that this poor woman's case can be properly heard and that her health and well-being continuing at risk outside the gates of this House are recognised, addressed and served by an immediate answer?

“If the Taoiseach is going to stick to his interpretation of the Act and its application and employ by the Minister for Education and Science, there is a bounden responsibility on him to amend the legislation to allow this institution to be included and Marie Therese's case, and the case of any other legitimately presenting, to be heard before the redress board.” ENDS

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