Thursday, 3 July 2008

Omagh Blaze Report Reveals Failings

Full Story:

The awful blaze tragedy that killed an entire family and shocked the whole country last November was impossible to predict. An independent report into the deliberate house fire in Omagh on 13 November 2007, in which a family of seven died, found that agencies involved with the murdered family had no indication the tragic event was about to occur. However, while the report concluded there is no evidence that anyone working with the family could have known the fire would happen, the report said there "is absolutely no doubt that there were failings on the part of health and social services". The Review Panel, which was chaired by Henry Toner QC, examined the quality of the professional work of the various agencies involved with Arthur McElhill, Lorraine McGovern and their five children. A total of 63 recommendations have been made in the report, which highlighted a number of deficits in key areas including communication of information between all agencies in respect of the criminal offences committed by Arthur McElhill; dissemination of that information within disciplines of the trust and other agencies and assessment of potential risks posed by Arthur McElhill to teenage girls by reason of the nature of those criminal offences; and good practice and management within the disciplines of the trust and other agencies. Commenting on the independent report, Health and Social Services Minister Michael McGimpsey said: "I know that the McGovern and McElhill families, and indeed the entire community, are still grieving after the terrible event which happened in Omagh last November. "My deepest sympathies go out to these families who have suffered the heartbreaking loss of their children and grandchildren.

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