Fergus O'Dowd alleges fear of reporting abuse by whistle-blowers.RTE

Irish police have been given over 700 complaints about ill treatment of elderly and mentally disabled in nursing homes by Fergus O’Dowd a member of the Irish parliament.

O’Dowd received the information after requesting the Freedom of Information documents on treatment in residential homes.

The revelation comes after shocking scenes were revealed by an Irish television undercover reporter at the Aras Attracta home in Swinford, County Mayo.

Among the new allegations against unnamed nursing homes are that:

- a woman who died having broken her leg in a fall hours earlier had called for help to no avail.

- some staff allegedly working at homes under fake identifications.

- death of one patient not registered until days after undertaker took remains away.

- male nurse had left his job when gardaí arrived on foot of sexual assault complaint relating to a paralyzed stroke victim.

- concern expressed that lack of monitoring facilitated suspected sexual assault by dementia patient on another.

- one complaint alleged the body of a man was moved after his death and the location of his death was given as “in bed” rather than collapsed on the floor of a toilet with no alarm call.

O’Dowd said whistle-blowers were often afraid to come forward with information because of fears of intimidation.

“You even see in some of the complaints people express concern about what could happen, what the consequences might be, if it becomes known a complaint has been made,” O’Dowd said.