Reply by Mr. Tim O’Malley, T.D. Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children To Dáil Adjournment Debate

That the Health Service Executive (HSE) initiate an investigation into the reasons why a custom built modern six unit facility at St. Vincent’s Residential Centre for the Disabled, Lisnagry, Co. Limerick at a cost of €4.25m has not been fully opened, and to examine why only half of the units have yet been properly staffed over two years since the unit was completed at a cost of €4.25m and furthermore to initiate appropriate steps to have the facility fully and properly staffed as a matter of urgency – Peter Power TD

I am pleased to have this opportunity to clarify some of the background and context in relation to the new six unit residential complex at St. Vincent’s Lisnagry, Co. Limerick which has been developed by the Daughters of Charity.

The Health Act, 2004 provided for the Health Service Executive, which was established on 1 January 2005. Under the Act, the Executive has the responsibility to manage and deliver or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. This includes the responsibility for the provision and funding of new or enhanced levels of health and personal social services.

The Health Service Executive has informed me that it is well established practice that all proposals for service development and enhancement for persons with intellectual disability must be submitted to the local consultative and development committees in the first instance. These committees consider all proposals made and in turn advise the HSE on the service priorities for each region.

The Health Service Executive state that no advance proposals in respect of this development at Lisnagry were submitted to their committees. The Health Service Executive further state that, subsequent to the developments being completed, it (the HSE) was informed by the Daughters of Charity that the running cost of these services would require €1.75m revenue each year.

The HSE is committed to the partnership framework of consultative and development committees outlined above, which can only progress new developments or enhancements, consistent with national policy, and in line with identified priorities and available funding. Currently prioritisation is towards persons with a disability who are without a service and who urgently require a residential place.

The HSE states that it will continue to work collaboratively with the consultative and development committees so as to maximise the funding options for the development at Lisnagry.

The Deputy will be aware that as part of a Multi-Annual Investment Programme 2006-2009 additional funding amounting to €51.5m is being provided by this Government in 2006 to meet costs associated with the following elements of this programme in respect of services to persons with intellectual disability and those with autism;

  • 255 new residential places
  • 85 new respite places
  • 535 new day places
  • and the continuation of the implementation of the transfer of persons with intellectual disability/autism from psychiatric hospitals and other inappropriate placements.

In addition to the specific high profile disability services which are included in the programme outlined above, additional funding of €22.5m is being provided to enhance the multi-disciplinary support services for people with disabilities in line with the Government’s commitment to build capacity within the health services to deliver on the various legislative provisions contained in the National Disability Strategy.

Furthermore, €12.5m is being provided to enhance the level and range of multi-disciplinary support services available to adults and children with intellectual, physical and sensory disabilities and those with autism, with a priority in 2006 on enhancing the assessment and support services for children with disabilities.