Abuse of persons in care settings – “growing problem must be tackled” – Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD
Five staff members have been placed on leave from a Sunbeam House Services residential care centre for adults with intellectual disabilities, pending two separate investigations into allegations of abuse.
The service provider is an almost exclusively publicly funded entity.
Reacting to this, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Disability Rights, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said:
“Over the last few years, we have seen disturbing evidence of persons with disabilities being subjected to outrageous abuse.
“I welcome the swiftness with which the Chief Executive of Sunbeam House Services acted in this instance in order to protect the residents in their care and we await the outcome of the investigations now underway.
“Abuse can take many forms; psychological, physical, sexual, financial and/or neglect.
"We as legislators and society generally need to ensure we do all that we can to help stop abuse taking place but also ensuring there are safeguards in place to have it eradicated once and for all.
“These latest allegations, if proven, continue a pattern of disturbing behaviour by some individuals in certain care centres.
"I must stress that the evidence suggests that most settings throughout the country operate an excellent regime for residents allowing them to live in a safe and respectful environment.
“HIQA conducts excellent work and has the authority to audit and investigate these residential care settings. It also has the power to demand changes are made and can place sanctions on non – compliant settings.
“I call once again on Government to allocate more resources to HIQA to allow it carry out more regular inspections of all care settings thereby helping protect our most vulnerable citizens.
"This should be a Government priority at a time of improving exchequer returns.”