Concerns over ‘shabby’ health services

The mother of a teenager with autism complained in court yesterday that mental health services for her son were shabby.

She made the complaint during a discussion of services as the boy was released following almost a month in custody for causing problems in his neighbourhood.

John Waij, aged 19, of Gould St, Cork, has spent that time in custody but Judge Olann Kelleher said prison was not the best place for him. However, the judge was concerned about what services were available and had requested the presence of a HSE official in Cork District Court yesterday to assist the court on available options.

Miriam Tobin of the HSE said Resilience Ireland would assess him over a four to 12-week period to establish what services he would need and that he could engage with a day programme from Monday. She said that day service was available to him before but he was not attending it.

John Waij’s mother, Miriam Dunne, also addressed the court yesterday and said, “I would say the services offered to him were very shabby.”

She said she was told a programme was to start last month but then was told it would not be starting until January 2018. She said that people with autism needed a regular programme.

“The disability services neglected my son. I don’t think they are offering enough. I feel he is in need of a lot more rehabilitation. England and Scotland have dedicated autistic services, they are not in Ireland, we are being let down in Ireland,” Ms Dunne said.

Inspector John Deasy said he had serious concerns for neighbours of the defendant and asked for a condition of bail that Waij would have no contact with them or other injured parties directly or indirectly.

The judge said he was not sentencing Waij yet on the criminal damage charges and he remanded him on bail until Thursday.

The young man at the centre of the case, John Waij, said yesterday he wanted to go home. “I have PS4 [Playstation game], I can watch movies. Just in prison I didn’t like it. At one point I tried to kill myself. It is depressing there.

“I will not do anything to anyone anymore. I will do anything they [HSE services] tell me.”

Mr Waij pleaded guilty to counts including causing property damage at South Main St, breaking two shop windows on September 8. He threw a rock at a front door of another premises in the same area causing damage on September 21.

Previously he threw a rock at a front door in the same area on December 1, 2016.

On November 27, 2016, he brought eggs to H&M shop on Opera Lane and threw them up against the ceiling causing €150 worth of damage to clothes underneath.

Teen with autism has been in custody though judge says prison isn’t best place for him


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