Fianna Fáil TD for Carlow – Kilkenny Bobby Aylward has confirmed that at least two organisations are interested in taking over the running of the former Camphill community in Ballytobin following a meeting with Disabilities Minister Finian McGrath and HSE Representatives in Leinster House last week.
Deputy Aylward said, “I was encouraged by the Minister’s indication that at least two organisations are interested in taking over the running of the former Camphill community in Ballytobin. The number one priority is the safety, well-being and future of the residents of Ballytobin, some of whom have been there for nearly forty years. Many of the families I heard from had serious concerns that any relocation for residents could prove to be a very tough adjustment so I hope this news from Minister McGrath will offer some reassurance to parents and families.
“While the very serious allegations raised in the HIQA Report have come as a shock to many parents and guardians, I am reassured following the meeting with Minister McGrath and his HSE officials that appropriate measures are being taken to protect the residents. The Minister confirmed that an Action Plan has been put in place setting out interim measures to improve safeguarding in the centre and to mitigate risk. These include the allocation of an experienced HSE manager to the centre, as well as additional, experienced professional staff in each of the houses on a 24 hour basis and the deployment of two HSE safeguarding officers to be based in the centre.
“The HSE has also assured the Department of Health that it will work closely with Camphill to bring about an orderly transfer of the centre and its residents to the HSE’s direct care services. There are nineteen residents in the centre, many of whom have lived there for a long time. An independent advocacy agency is co-ordinating family forums, to meet with parents and families of the 19 residents. The HSE attends these independently managed forums and will continue to do so. It is intended to convene a weekly forum with parents, to ensure that there is input and collaboration with parents and families at this time.
“I had hoped to discuss a number of pressing issues affecting adults and children with disabilities in the South East such as the progress of the purpose built respite facility due to come online within two years, the St. Patrick’s Centre, the need for adult respite services in Kilkenny and the exorbitant delays with assessment of needs which is proving to be an increasing source of distress for families. While Minister McGrath had to depart for another engagement, he assured me he would meet me to discuss these matters further in the near future,” concluded Deputy Aylward.