Belfast Telegraph

Ian Paisley tabled motion for full inquiry into Muckamore Abbey Hospital over a decade ago

The late Ian Paisley raised concerns in Stormont about Muckamore Abbey Hospital over a decade ago, it has emerged.

In recent days the care facility, which is located just outside of Antrim town, has come under scrutiny for alleged mistreatment of patients with learning difficulties.

Senior officials in the Belfast Health Trust have issued an "unreserved apology" for treatment of patients at the facility, where a safeguarding operation has been underway since last September.

Thirteen members of staff have been suspended with another 10 being interviewed as witnesses.

On Friday, screenshots were shared online of a push by late DUP founder and former First Minister Ian Paisley to tackle an issue of patients being kept at the hospital as there were no resources for them to be kept in the community.

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Muckamore Abbey Hospital near Antrim

In January 2007, Mr Paisley tabled a motion during Private Members' Business expressing concern for treatment of "more than 100 adults and young people with learning difficulties" he said had been forced to remain at the hospital because community care was not available.

A BBC investigation at the time revealed one man had been kept at the hospital 10 years after his treatment had ended.

Around one month later, in February of 2007, the Belfast Telegraph uncovered allegations of sexual abuse at the home between the years 1960 and 1982.

After an extensive public probe, in 2011 the PPS said it would not bring anyone to court over the allegations.

Amid current allegations is mistreatment against staff at the home, the Belfast Trust said in a statement on Friday: "We are in the process of meeting with the families so that we can apologise to them directly, and to explain in further detail the actions we are taking.

"We wish to assure all of the patients who we care for in Muckamore Abbey Hospital and their families that their safety is our absolute priority at all times."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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