I was disgusted when I picked up a copy of the Newry Reporter today. I was in such a foul mood because of what greeted me when I looked at the front page, Dominic Bradley and his lackey Feehan reading confidential files.
These confidential files were found beside a dump in the Camlough area last week. The documents concern as many as 30 schoolchildren from the Newry and South Armagh area over the last 40 years and include medical records and comments on parents’ ability to care for their families.
Dominic Bradley was passed these documents last week and had possession of them from last Friday. He didn't pass them on until this week and the manner in which he held and used these confidential documents is truly disgusting.
Instead of handing these documents straight over to the proper authorities, as is his duty, he decided to read them along with every other stoop lackey in the place.
He then proceeded to place these confidential documents before the press, revealing a lot of the private and priviliged medical and professional opinions of the children and families concerned.
I find this to be totally reprehensible on Bradley's part! This man is a qualified teacher after all!
I mean, when Dominic was working in St Paul's if he had found a confidential file about a pupil outside the school gate what would he have done? One would hope he would have brought the file straight back into the school, leaving the file unread with the privacy of the child protected and intact.
In this case Dominic simply threw the privacy of these children to the side in his attempt to make political capital off the back of their suffering.
Caitríona Ruane has said that an investigation is underway on this clear breach; I hope the actions of Mr Bradley will also fall under the remit of this investigation. Caitríona also said that the individuals concerned are being contacted.
I can guarantee you that if I was one of those mentioned in these confidential education files I would be straight to my solicitor in order to take legal action against Mr Bradley.
UPDATE 1: Newry Sinn Féin MLA Mickey Brady has called on the PSNI to fully investigate the entire circumstances in relation to the discovery of these highly sensitive and confidential education documents.
"Questions as to why these documents were held by individuals from a Thursday to a Monday before being handed back to the appropriate SELB officials need answered"
"I have been informed that many of these papers were taken by unauthorised people to an Office, examined and over a period of days placed into new files before they were given to the SELB. I am also aware that sections of the media were given photo copies and faxes of the material."
"I have also been contacted by families over fears that their confidential details were now, even after the return of some of the documents, still in the public domain."
"The PSNI need to investigate fully this entire incident. We need to know who had the documents, who really did find them and who else has them now."
UPDATE 2: It now seems that these confidential files were not just found "on the road", they seem to have been taken from a Council amenity site.
Cllr Pat McGinn has asked Council Officials to inform the Council as to why sensitive confidential education documents left in the Camlough Amenity site were removed from the Council property without authority from the Council or indeed without any explanation.
“It is my understanding that at least one person, a local elected representative walked into the Council site in Camlough and removed these documents from a Paper recycling skip. It is also my information that Council management was not informed of why this material was being removed, or any of the issues involved. Whilst the facts about where these confidential papers had previously been stored and why they were placed in the skip needs to be known, it is also imperative that the facts, that is the truth as to who found these documents, where they were all found, who all took them away, who was given access to either the originals or copies and where they were they taken to needs to be made public also”
“I like most within the local community feel that this issue from start to finish has been handled disgracefully and totally irresponsibly. There is a deep concern locally that highly sensitive and hurtful information about individuals and families from throughout south Armagh has been used as a pathetic attempt at cheap political point scoring. There is also a belief that some of the material, originals and copies is currently in the public domain and in the possession of unauthorised people "