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Aras Attracta worker sat on severely autistic woman’s lap

CourtsBy Morgan Flanagan Creagh
Aras Attracta
Aras Attracta

A care worker at the Aras Attracta care home who sat on a disabled woman’s lap described it as “playful interaction” in court yesterday.

Pat McLoughlin was speaking in court in a case concerning a number of staff members at the disabled care home who were secretly filmed by RTÉ allegedly assaulting residents.

Video evidence of the 56-year-old sitting on the patient’s lap was shown to Castlebar District Court yesterday.

The footage which was shot in the care home was broadcast by RTÉ’s Prime Time investigates team.

Three segments of footage were shown in court, two of which showed staff sitting on the severely autistic woman (known as Resident A) and a third showed another worker pulling the same resident backwards by the hood of her top.

“I was about to leave Bungalow 3. I had my back to the door and (Resident A) hit me on the back twice. Somebody then told her to go and sit down,” said Mr McLoughlin.

“I thought I might have a bit of interaction here so, she was racing (to her chair) and she got to her char before I did. I sat down partially on her and partially on the side of the chair for a couple of seconds.”

What I did wasn’t acceptable but it was just a spur-of-the-moment thing and a bit of fun that we were having, a bit of playfulness and no more than that.”

The State’s case is against Mr McLoughlin and four other workers who are each alleged to have committed an assault in Bungalow 3 in November 2014.