The complaints, which have been notified to gardaí, relate to two residential units at St Anne’s in Roscrea and were made by a student who had been on placement. St Anne’s has four bungalows, and the complaints relate to two of those bungalows, each of which caters to eight adults with intellectual disabilities.
Last night, the Daughters of Charity issued a statement in which it said it became aware on December 15 that an allegation of “inappropriate practices” had been made to the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa). It received an outline of the allegations the next day.
“A preliminary investigation has begun and while this is progressing we have put in place measures to ensure that residents are safe,” it said.
“The families of all residents have been informed as have the HSE and gardaí.”
The HSE in the Mid-West said it has established a safeguarding team to support the Daughters of Charity.
“It is important to emphasise that the HSE urges staff and clients to make complaints where they are aware of abuse or bad practices/ attitudes towards any vulnerable people,” it said.
“The HSE will respond to any such complaints in an appropriate and expeditious manner.”
The HSE said it had established a confidential recipient, Leigh Gath, to receive complaints from whistleblowers.
“Other complaints can be made directly to the HSE through ‘your service your say’, e-mail: yoursay@ hse.ie,” it said.
Junior Health Minister Kathleen Lynch said she had anticipated that more concerns “of this nature” would emerge following the revelations on RTÉ’s Prime Time programme regarding Áras Attracta in Swinford, Co Mayo.
“While it is worrying for all of us that this has happened, it is also encouraging that the service being carried out by Hiqa is uncovering concerns of poor and unacceptable standards of care,” she said. “It is only through exposing these practices that we can start to effect improvement.”