Adams seeks “fully independent” inquiry into care homes following RTÉ exposé
Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has called for fully independent inquiry into care homes following a damning RTÉ exposé into the treatment of people with intellectual disabilities at the Aras Attracta facility in County Mayo.
Gerry Adams said:
“Last night's RTÉ documentary on Áras Attracta in County Mayo provided a shocking insight into the treatment of vulnerable citizens with intellectual disabilities. This programme has deeply disturbed and upset citizens, not least the relatives of those involved and those with family members and loved ones in care.
“What we witnessed was nothing less than the vile physical, mental and emotional abuse of the most vulnerable of our citizens.
“HIQA has stated that following an inspection of Áras Attracta last February, it raised its concerns with the HSE which then put in place an action plan. HIQA also States that it found substantial improvements during a follow-up inspection in May.
“The Minister for Health says the HIQA recommendations were implemented. If that was the case, the systems in place in care homes have been a catastrophic failure.”
Mr Adams asked the Taoiseach, if he knew what, if any, oversight mechanisms are in place in these institutions.
He pointed out that while the HSE has ordered an investigation under an independent chairman, Inclusion Ireland, the National Association for People with an Intellectual Disability, said it is not appropriate for the social care division alone to investigate its own service.
He asked if the Taoiseach would put in place a fully independent, root-and-branch investigation.
“We all know that the treatment of citizens with disabilities is another scandalous legacy which this State has failed to face up to for decades. The cut to Respite Care Grant is an example of this. This State has yet to sign up to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”
He said the Taoiseach has already acknowledged that the findings of the Congregated Settings Review have not been implemented.
Mr Adams said;
“According to reports, HIQA received an average of three complaints a week since it took responsibility for inspections in November of last year. It is reported that up to 160 complaints made in the past year about care facilities for people with disabilities, have not been fully investigated.
“It is claimed that some of these deal with the type of abusive treatment shown in last night’s RTE documentary. HIQA has admitted that individual complaints are not being probed and are merely being filed away.
“Might it be that this failure could have allowed the abusive practice at Aras Attracts to continue until exposed by the very fine RTE investigation?”
Mr Adams again asked the Taoiseach whether, in light of this and a statement from Minister Kathleen Lynch, that the safety of citizens in care homes cannot be guaranteed, he would commit to a “root-and-branch inquiry into care facilities for people with intellectual disabilities in this State”.
Mr Kenny made no commitment, saying only that current inquiries needed to be concluded.