Friday, 4 July 2008

Welfare service 'failings' in Omagh fire tragedy

Full Story:

THE health and social services were guilty of a series of failings in the case of an Omagh family who died in a house fire, an investigation has found. Arthur McElhill, Lorraine McGovern and their five children died in the blaze at their family home in November last year. Mr McElhill, a registered sex offender, doused the family home in Lammy Crescent with petrol. An independent review panel commissioned by Stormont health minister Michael McGimpsey to examine the role of the statutory agencies that dealt with the family highlighted a series of shortcomings. Led by QC Henry Toner, the panel noted that not all agencies were aware Mr McElhill had twice been charged with the indecent assault of teenage girls. The lack of information allowed a teenage girl, who was on the Child Protection Register, being allowed to sleep over at Lammy Crescent in the months before the fire. Commenting on the findings, Michael McGimpsey said immediate action needed to be taken to address the deficits highlighted in the investigation. "This report has some 63 recommendations aimed at all agencies involved in supporting and protecting children and families," he said

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