Five staff put on paid leave after abuse claims at Wicklow residential care centre


RTÉ reported today that five staff  members have been put on paid leave from an organisation providing residential services for adults with intellectual disabilities, pending two investigations into allegations of abuse.

Sunbeam House Services (SHS), which is based in Wicklow and southeast Dublin, told RTÉ News that it made the decision hours after receiving the allegations and that sending the staff home ensured the residents’ safety until the matter has been investigated fully.

Sunbeam House Services was set up almost 70 years ago to help people with intellectual disabilities and provides 155 residential care places in 23 centres.

Speaking to RTÉ News, the SHS’s chief executive officer Hugh Kane said five staff were on paid leave “at the present time” and that the centre concerned accommodates a number of adults.

Mr Kane said that last Friday-week, SHS had “received allegations raising concerns about potential safeguarding issues” in the centre which had been reviewed by the SHS’s internal safeguarding team, some of whom had interviewed the complainant before the Gardaí were informed later that day.

Mr Kane told RTÉ News the allegations had been referred to the gardaí in the area where the centre is located and that the SHS had informed “all the relevant authorities” and had “spoken to the families (of the residents) involved.”

Sunbeam House Services has promised that it and its main funder, the Health Service Executive, will also conduct a full investigation into the allegations.

The charity said it was liaising with the gardaí to ensure that it did not impede the police investigation.

Mr Kane also said that the SHS charity had also notified the Health Information and Quality Authority of the allegations.

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