Tuesday 23 January 2018

HSE staff who failed House of Horrors children will now face swift discipline, says Minister

HSE staff who failed to intervene in the Roscommon 'House of Horrors' case are to be the subject of disciplinary proceedings.

The Minister for Children, Barry Andrews, said today that the health organisation is "going to commence a HR disciplinary process".

He added that it is expected "there will be a quick turnaround in that matter".

HSE chiefs have already apologised to the six children, who suffered years of horrific abuse at the hands of their parents.

They admitted to failing to protect the young brothers and sisters who lived in squalid conditions at home.

The children's mother, who was an alcoholic, was sentenced to seven years in jail after pleading guilty to incest, sexual abuse, neglect and wilful ill treatment.


Her husband was later jailed for 12-and-a-half years for rape and sexual assault against one of his sons.

Speaking to Ivan Yates on Newstalk's Breakfast, Mr Andrews said: "You cannot ensure these things will never happen again.

"Social work works in a very complex, challenging environment, where parents can be manipulative and suffering from serious addiction issues.

"You cannot guarantee... what you can do is never, ever give up trying to minimise risk."

He told the programme's listeners that there were "individual failures of judgment on the part of those who should have intervened earlier and also a collective failure in the way the system was managed".

Mr Andrews said that while "the whole thing is so shocking" to parents, "unfortunately, these things happen".

Social workers failed to spot signs of neglect of the Roscommon children, who were hungry and left to fend for themselves.


The six children, four of whom are still in care as they are minors, met informally with a High Court judge, Mr Justice John MacMenamin.

They said what they wanted was for their voices to be heard and that they wondered why their pleas had not been taken seriously.

Social workers first became aware of the family as far back as 1989.


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