Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children Charlie McConalogue has called for an urgent response from the Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald to today’s report from the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) highlighting serious problems at the Gleann Alainn Special Care Unit in Glanmire, Co Cork.


The HIQA report has declared a ‘state of crisis’ at Gleann Alainn in the delivery of special care services for vulnerable teenage girls


Deputy McConalogue said: “The report published today is nothing short of alarming. Following inspections at Gleann Alainn, HIQA has said the facility is in a ‘state of crisis’.


“This follows damning reports on two other similar special care units in the State.  In April of this year, a HIQA report described Coovagh House in limerick as also being “in crisis” noting “grave concerns regarding safety of children and staff”.    In 2009, the HSE committed to close Ballydowd Special Care Unit in Dublin after HIQA declared it “unfit for purpose”. However, more than two years later it remains open due was a 50% increase in national demand for special care placements last year.


“Minister Fitzgerald recently passed the Childcare Amendment Act 2011, which is likely to lead to further increases in the number of children entering special care units for longer periods.  How can the system that is already under enormous pressure and unsafe in many instances cope with further pressures? The Children’s Minister must address this as a matter of urgency.


“It is not acceptable that we continue the current practice of sending children abroad for the care that they need. I am calling on Minister Fitzgerald to outline a comprehensive plan as a matter of urgency.”