People with disabilities have right to professional service, says Junior Minister

People with disabilities have right to professional service, says Junior Minister

Minister of State for Disabilities Finian McGrath has said that people with disabilities have a right to “proper professional service”.

His comments come after HSE took control of three centres run by the Irish Society for Autism.

A total of 47 adult residents with autism were living in the three farm-based centres at Cluain Farm in Westmeath, Dunfirth Farm in Kildare, and Sarshill House in Co Wexford

“We need to be able to ensure that these people get a proper, professional service,” said Mr McGrath.

“And we also need to change the mindset as well in relation to the whole idea of people with disabilities in charities – as far as I’m concerned, people with disabilities have rights [including] their right to proper services.”

Investigations by the healthcare watchdog HIQA last year revealed that drugs were used to chemically restrain patients, while others left the premises unnoticed or engaged in self-harm.

The charity admitted it has been experiencing “some difficulty in achieving regulation with HIQA”.

It added: “These have been very challenging times for all concerned including our residents and staff, many of whom have been with us for a long time.”

Despite initial objections to two of the takeovers, which were later dropped, the charity said: “We are a small organisation and we believe that, in the long term, this decision is in the best interest of our residents.”


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