Aras Attracta nurse sat on resident for 'a bit of fun'

A clinical nurse manager has accepted that sitting on a female resident of Aras Attracta with severe intellectual disabilities was "unacceptable".

Pat McLoughlin (aged 56) of Lalibela, Mayfield, Claremorris, who is charged with assaulting the woman who cannot communication through speech, said he was “having a bit of fun” with the woman after she had struck him twice before the incident, but it was not caught on camera.

Mr McLoughlin, a native of the UK who moved to Ireland in 1971, told the court he was about to leave Bungalow 3 when the resident hit him. He was having “a bit of playful interaction” and thought he would get to the resident’s favourite chair before her.

“In the spur of the moment I sat down partially on her and partially on the side of the chair.”

“It was a spur of the moment. I was just having a bit of interaction with her, a bit of fun.”

RTE footage showed staff telling the resident “give Pat a hug.” She did so before the defendant left the common room.

“The situation was diffused and I left so not to antagonise her.”

The court heard that Mr McLoughlin knew the resident, who has severe intellectual disabilities with severe autism, for 10 years. He said she could be challenging at times and was prone to hitting out at staff and visitors and in the past had caused injury to staff.

Clinical nurse specialist Martin Maguire said he had worked on a functional assessment report for the resident prior to the incident and he believed the strategies in place for her were working well.

He told the court that he and Mr McLoughlin had disagreements on how to implement plans.

He described his colleagues actions as “unacceptable” behavioural management.

Prior to viewing the clip Mr Maguire had considered Mr McLoughlin as a “competent nurse”.

“It’s a challenging environment. There were many times we had disagreements but I would have regarded him as a good member of staff.”

Gearoid Geraghty BL told the court that his client had contextualised the incident and it fell short of the standard required to prove he’s guilty of assault. He sought a dismissal of the charge.

Judge Mary Devins reserved judgement on the case until the trial of the other four defendants is heard.


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