Speaking today following newspaper reports, Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Mental Health, Disabilities and Special Needs, Colm Keaveney TD criticised the decision to abandon plans to use undercover inspectors to conduct spot checks in care homes.
Deputy Keaveney said, “it is unclear why the proposal has been dropped. This was something which was suggested last month and now appears to have been discarded. If reports in today’s newspapers are accurate, the main response appears to be to strengthen the complaints procedure. However, where there is a culture of disrespect or worse, abuse, within a unit or home, with staff and management taking part in that culture unseen by visitors and with services users that are unable to speak out, it seems unlikely that a complaints procedure will be sufficient to prevent malpractice or abuse.
“It is incumbent upon the Minister to come into the Dáil and detail what safeguards she will put in place to prevent what occurred in Aras Attracta from happening again. The government avoided any significant debate on this issue before Christmas but this is an issue that needs to be debated within the Dáil. We have expended much energy over the last decade and a half investigating past institutional abuses, while allowing other forms of institutional abuses to continue today. Let us not leave it to a Dáil 20 or 30 years hence to have to investigate and apologise for matters that we should be addressing today,” concluded Deputy Keaveney.