Belfast Telegraph

Ministers rapped for discord on abuse case

By Deborah McAleese

The Health and Justice Ministers have been criticised for failing to agree on the handling of the case of two paedophile brothers who were allowed to return to live at the scene of their crimes.

Ministers David Ford and Michael McGimpsey faced tough questioning in the Assembly yesterday over the aftermath of the Donagh child sex abuse scandal.

Health Minister McGimpsey said that the social workers who handled the case of James and Owen-Roe McDermott should not be “hung out to dry”.

Mr Ford, however, has said that the court based its decision to return the brothers home on advice given to the judge by Western Health and Social Care Trust staff.

Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill, deputy chairwoman of the health committee, criticised both ministers for their handling of the issue.

She said Question Time in the Assembly yesterday saw “the ridiculous situation where two ministers were sitting a few people apart in the chamber disagreeing with each other”.

“They need to get their acts together. They need to sit down and they need to ensure this matter is given the urgent attention and focus that is required,” she said.

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