New standards of care for children and adults with disabilities in residential centres come into force today.
HIQA has been given the power to inspect all residential services including those run by the HSE, as well as private and voluntary services.
It's the first time any of these centres have been subject to independent inspection.
The Health Information and Quality Authority has described the day as a "milestone" for Ireland.
The Junior Minister with responsibility for people with disabilities, Kathleen Lynch, said the new standards cover a wide range of areas.
"We're talking about lifestyle issues: do you want to watch television? What would you like to watch? What would you like to eat? What would you like to do? How do you want to live? … the things we all do every day of the week."
"Of course, I other areas, there will be medical issues, and greater needs issues, and those things will have to be met as well."