Fianna Fáil TD for Carlow – Kilkenny Bobby Aylward has accused Minister Kathleen Lynch of failing to learn the lessons of the past after a residential unit for people with intellectual disabilities was deregistered. HIQA raised a number of concerns about practices at St. Patrick Centre in Kilkenny and secured a court order striking the unit off the national register.

Deputy Aylward said, “The fact that a care home has been de-registered because of serious breaches of safety guidelines is extremely worrying. This is an unprecedented move and warrants immediate and drastic action to ensure that all safety standards are brought up to scratch. Minister Kathleen Lynch can no longer afford to sit back and act like an independent observer. Action must be taken to avoid a repeat of this situation.

“Minister Lynch promised new processes in the wake of the Aras Attracta controversy. She now needs to ensure that those processes are being implemented as a matter of urgency because in the wake of these latest breaches it is obvious that no new procedures have been put in place. Now we are left with a situation where 28 residents are being discommoded because the Government and the HSE has failed to bring the unit in line with national standards.

“This unit, which is home to 28 adults with complex needs, failed to comply with 17 out of the 18 standards were inspected by HIQA officials. This is extremely distressing not only for the residents, but also for their families who are understandably worried about the safety of their loved ones. The Minister has a duty of care to these residents and their families and the deregistering of this unit will do nothing to calm their unease about standards in facilities.

“We need to see a clear commitment from Government that it is serious about improving standards in residential care units and for wider mental health and disability services and not the constant rehashing of initiatives which are not being properly funded. The disability and mental health sector is chronically underfunded and unless the Minister begins actively fighting for funding and spending it on much needed resources, the problems in residential units and other care facilities will continue”.