Care worker sentenced over Áras Attracta assault

Monday 08 February 2016 23.52
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Patrick McLoughlin was sentenced to four months in prision
Patrick McLoughlin was sentenced to four months in prision
The charges arose from filming by RTÉ's Investigations Unit
The charges arose from filming by RTÉ's Investigations Unit

A 56-year-old care worker who assaulted an intellectually disabled woman by sitting on her lap has been sentenced to four months in prison.

Patrick McLoughlin, a clinical nurse manager with an address at Lalibela, Mayfield, Claremorris, Co Mayo was given the custodial sentence at Ballina District Court today.

McLoughlin, a father of three, was also ordered by Judge Mary Devins to pay €1,000 to his victim's personal fund to be spent on things she enjoys such as having her hair done and going on outings.

The accused had pleaded not guilty to assaulting his victim - identified in court as 'Miss A' - at the HSE-run Áras Attracta complex in Swinford, Co Mayo, in November 2014.

Although McLoughlin had described his actions in court as a "bit of fun", Judge Devins said there had been a hint of cruelty in his actions to a particularly vulnerable woman and found him guilty of assault. 

Charges of assault against the accused arose from filming at Bungalow 3 of the Áras complex carried out covertly by RTÉ's Investigations Unit.

Meanwhile, Joan Gill, 63, of Dublin Road, Swinford, Co Mayo, avoided a custodial sentence for what Judge Devins described as an act of cruelty and inhumanity by dragging a resident - identified in court as 'Miss C' - across the floor.

Joan Gill

The fact that this was done in the presence of other staff was extraordinarily humiliating, the judge remarked.

Gill, who had pleaded guilty to assault, was ordered to pay €1,000 into the personal account of Miss A and €500 into the personal account of the person identified in court as 'Miss B'.

She is to assessed for her suitability to carry out 240 hours community service in lieu of a four-month prison sentence.

Other defendants, who had pleaded not guilty to assault, dealt with today were: Christina Delaney, 35, Seefin, Lissatava, Hollymount, Co Mayo; Joan Walsh, 42, Carrowilkeen, Curry, Co Sligo; and Kathleen King, 56, Knockshanvally, Straide, Foxford, Co Mayo.

Delaney, who was also shown on camera sitting on Miss A, was ordered to pay €600 compensation towards her victim's personal fund and she will be assessed for community service.

If found suitable, she will carry out 120 hours of community service in lieu of a three-month prison sentence.

Walsh, a staff nurse, was found guilty of slapping a non-verbal resident who was seeking her attention and lifting her before dropping her into a chair.

She was ordered to pay €600 to her victim's personal fund and will be assessed for 120 hours community service in lieu of a three-month prison sentence.

King, a health-care assistant, was directed to pay Miss C €600. She will be assessed for 120 hours community service in lieu of a three-month prison sentence.