Northern Ireland

Donagh child abuse brothers moved from ward

James McDermott and Owen-Roe McDermott were declared unfit for trial in June
Image caption Families of patients with special needs objected to the presence of James and Owen-Roe McDermott

Two paedophile brothers on a hospital ward with patients who have learning difficulties are to be moved.

James McDermott, 61, and Owen-Roe McDermott, 52, sexually abused children over 30 years in County Fermanagh.

They voluntarily admitted themselves to Lakeview Hospital in Londonderry after they were deemed too mentally ill to stand trial in June.

Relatives of other patients on the ward said they were relieved the brothers were being moved to a different unit.

"A weight has been lifted off our shoulders," said Dermot O'Hara.

"We are very pleased that the trust moved so quickly following our meeting on Friday, and these measures are being put in place today."

A Western Health Trust spokesman said it was a complex situation which needed to be addressed with sensitivity.

'Satisfactory resolution'

Trevor Millar, director of adult mental health services, said they had discussed the practicalities of offering care to the McDermott brothers.

"We are grateful that with the families' support and cooperation, the situation has moved forward to a satisfactory resolution for everyone," he said.

"The trust is continuing to care for the needs of all clients and will work closely with the families as we do this."

The two brothers were allowed to return home to the village of Donagh, County Fermanagh, in June after they were declared mentally unfit to stand trial.

They admitted themselves to Lakeview after village residents protested at their return to the area where they had committed the abuse.

However, families of patients on their ward objected to them being treated there and held a series of meetings with the Western Trust.

Between them, four McDermott brothers, from Moorlough Road in Donagh, faced 60 charges of abuse spanning five decades.

John McDermott was jailed for nine years in June for the abuse, which was described as frequent, regular and persistent.

Peter Paul McDermott took his own life during his trial on abuse charges involving two young boys.

James and Owen-Roe McDermott were given lifetime orders banning them from being with children, and a two-year treatment and supervision order placing them in the care of social services.

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