Donagh abuse brothers are urged to go into hospital

The Western Health Trust has asked two men who abused children in a Fermanagh village over a 30-year period to admit themselves to hospital for treatment.

Hundreds of people attended a meeting in Donagh on Monday night to get an update from police and health officials about James and Owen Roe McDermott.

The brothers were allowed to return home last month after they were declared mentally unfit to stand trial.

The High Court has ruled the trust can not force them to leave their home.

It also emerged at the meeting that the two brothers have been placed in the lowest risk category of sex offenders.

The chief executive of the Western Health Trust, Elaine Way, said they had tried to remove the brothers from the community for their own safety after reports that stones had been thrown at their house – but their options were very limited.

“The legislation is very clear in terms of what the health and social care trust can do,” she said.

“We had tried on the back of the alleged stone-throwing incident to get them to come to hospital voluntarily, but that was taken to judicial review and we were told quite clearly by the court that we did not have authority to compel them.”

Between them, four McDermott brothers, from Moorlough Road in Donagh, faced 60 charges of abuse spanning five decades.

John McDermott was jailed for nine years in June for the abuse, which was described as frequent, regular and persistent.

Peter Paul McDermott took his own life during his trial on abuse charges involving two young boys.

The other two brothers, James and Owen, were given lifetime orders banning them from being with children, and a two year treatment and supervision order placing them in the care of social services.

They are living in their own home in Donagh, close to children’s play areas and where their victims and their families live.