Paedophile brothers care reviewed

An investigation into the case handling of two notorious paedophile brothers has been passed to independent experts, the health minister has announced.

Michael McGimpsey had originally commissioned an internal probe on how NHS staff dealt with James and Owen-Roe McDermott from the Co Fermanagh village of Donagh.

There was a public outcry when the brothers were allowed to return to live in the community where they committed their abuse after being deemed mentally unfit to stand trial.

Controversy and confusion has surrounded the Western Health and Social Health Care Trust’s advisory role in the court decision that enabled the brothers to move home.

Mr McGimpsey told a joint Stormont committee hearing he had now decided it was appropriate for the independent Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) to handle the case review.

“I have given detailed consideration of the need for a review of the trust’s handling of the case and how best it should be carried out,” he said. “I now believe that the best way forward is to have the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority provide an independent review of the clinical and social care aspects of this case.

“I have already written to the chief executive of the RQIA and he has agreed to take this forward as a matter of urgency. I would expect to have an interim report submitted to me in four weeks. Should the review identify any actions, I will ensure they are addressed immediately across all health and social care organisations and I will of course seek to keep you (committee members) advised of progress and any significant lessons or actions emerging.”

While the brothers voluntarily admitted themselves into residential care earlier in the summer, the fall-out from the original court decision continues to rumble on.

Last week, Mr McGimpsey faced calls to resign after he admitted giving the Assembly incorrect information on the case. The minister apologised for telling members that the trust did not employ a doctor who advised the judge that the McDermott brothers should live back in Donagh.

The McDermotts were two of four brothers who faced 60 charges of abuse. John McDermott was jailed for nine years in June for his crimes, while Peter Paul McDermott killed himself during his trial.