That development did more for farmers than half a century of independence had. However, there is another group that may have benefited even more. Before we joined the EU our brothers and sisters who needed sheltered, secure accommodation because of an intellectual disability, were often kept — incarcerated might not be too harsh a word — in conditions more like those described by gulag writers Solzhenitsyn and Dostoyevsky. They were often inhuman. Thankfully, in the majority of cases that is no longer true. The EU set and insisted on new standards. The development of sheltered accommodation has been spectacular. The majority of those who work in these facilities show every day a depth of humanity and simple love beyond most of us.
One of those developments involves moving high-need adults from sheltered institutions to houses spread across the community. This, on the face of it, seems a noble and enriching project but, despite the best intentions of those involved, it may not always be so. Parents and relatives of the 78 adults who live at St Mary of the Angels in Beaufort are unhappy with proposals to move them from a central location. They, and many others in a similar position right across the country, must be listened to as they realise that in many cases their loved ones could not cope outside of the secure, familiar environs they know and trust.