Press Release

Minister Moloney responds to the Irish Human Rights Commission Enquiry Report into the provision of intellectual disability services by the Brothers of Charity Services to adults in the John Paul Centre, Galway

Mr. John Moloney, T.D, Minister of State with responsibility for Disability and Mental Health today (30 March, 2010) responded to the publication by the Irish Human Rights Commission of its Enquiry Report into the provision of intellectual disability services by the Brothers of Charity Services to adults in the John Paul Centre, Galway.

The Minister said “This report raises important questions regarding the current arrangements for funding, accountability and standards in our disability services. Its recommendations will be considered in the context of the ongoing Value for Money and Policy Review of Disability Services. This approach will allow us to focus on how well the current provision for disability services is being used and explore the way forward for the reconfiguration of these services, aligning them more closely with identified needs, with a view to achieving better value for money from the existing substantial resources devoted to this area.”

The Minister went on to say “I will consider these recommendations with particular regard to the policy responsibilities of the Department of Health and Children, the future financing and delivery of disability services for adults and the appropriate legislative and regulatory framework.”

The Government allocates over €1.5 billion for the provision of disability services each year. In addition to the Value for Money and Policy Review, a HSE Review of the provision of Adult Day Services for people with disabilities has been completed and a Review of the case for moving people from residential institutions (Congregated Settings) is currently being finalised by a HSE led group.

All of these policy initiatives are being informed by principles of mainstreaming, community inclusion, independence and choice. These major developments could radically change the nature of disability services and supports, housing and employment in coming years.

The Minister went on to say “while I accept that in the current economic climate we face significant challenges we must, however, remember that our objective is to work together to develop a person-centred, approach to delivering disability services and to improve the lives of people affected by disability”.

Background

The recommendations of direct relevance to the Department of Health and Children fall into three categories

  • Those concerned with legislative issues including (a) reviewing existing legislation and practice against human rights obligations (b) ratifying the UN Convention (c) defining ‘health and personal’ social services in primary legislation (d) introducing capacity legislation and developing codes of practice and (e) commencing the Disability Act 2005.
  • Those concerned with issues that are under consideration as part of the Value For Money (VFM) Review including (a) reviewing the role and format of service level agreements including allowing them to be informed by individual needs for services (b) instructing the VFM process to be guided by a bottom up approach, (c) establishing an agreed national average cost for residential, day care and respite places, (d) developing guidelines on staff to client ratios.