Fianna Fáil has called for urgent intervention from the Irish Human Rights Commission, as a number of disability centres face shut down amid concerns about poor standards of care.
The party’s Spokesperson on Disability Colm Keaveney TD wrote to Commissioner Emily Logan last week expressing grave concerns about a crisis in the disability sector and the Government’s failure to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
He called on Mrs Logan to investigate the continued use of use of institutionalised care for people with intellectual disabilities and the increasing level of cuts to services for people with disabilities.
Deputy Keaveney explained, “Last week we had another report which found serious issues in the care of people with intellectual disabilities at a home in Co. Tipperary. Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident. It’s now emerged that the health watchdog, HIQA, has written to 20 homes expressing concerns about poor standards of care.
“This is an extremely worrying development that signals just how serious the crisis in the disability sector has become. The Government has completely abandoned people with disabilities by ignoring warnings of worsening standards of care, by slashing services without introducing alternative supports and by failing to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
“Unfortunately this latest development will not be news to the Ministers Leo Varadkar and Kathleen Lynch, who have been warned on several occasions about the crisis in disability care homes. With every damning report published, Minister Lynch makes all the appropriate noises but takes absolutely no action to ensure the better treatment of people with disabilities. Meanwhile her senior Minister Leo Varadkar has decided not to engage on the issue at all, preferring as always to stand on the sidelines in his role as an expert commentator.
“It is extremely sad that 156 countries ratified the UN Convention that promotes and protects the rights of people with disabilities, but Ireland has not. This speaks volumes about the priority that this Government places on people with intellectual and physical disabilities.
“In the absence of a Government that upholds the rights of people with disabilities, I have called on the Irish Human Rights Commissioner Emily Logan to intervene. We are now in a situation where hundreds of people with disabilities will be left with nowhere to go because their care homes face closure. It’s time for the Government to wake up.”