Statement on Whistleblower’s revelations March 26th

March 26 2021, 03:00pm

Picture of a whistle on a wood background.

DFI are shocked and concerned at revelations in last night’s Prime Time Investigates on RTE 1 TV.

We call for full transparency now as to how widespread this information gathering was. Trust has been broken and doubt will now be in the minds of all those with disabilities who fought for services.

It is “inevitable” in the view of one expert, that this information collection was not just limited to families with autistic children. (Data Law Expert Daragh O'Brien ) We now need full transparency as to the full extent of this practice, when it began and if it continues.

The real scandal is that people with disabilities must go to the courts for basic services that the State has committed to providing under the UN CRPD[i]. The State now appears to be at war with itself. Instead of providing services that citizens are entitled to, it is spending taxpayers’ money on defending the indefensible.

A FOI request from The Examiner recently revealed that the HSE spent €700,000 in legal fees over the past three years on just ONE aspect of unmet disability need.

A question for An Taoiseach - Is Ireland fully committed to implementing the UN CRPD or are practices to gather and use personal information without consent acceptable? asked John Dolan.

“For all our sakes, but urgently for children with disabilities, we must find a better way”, said John Dolan.

"Let's see the Department of Health’s legal advice and the request it made for this legal opinion. We have reason to believe the information gathered could only have been used in indirect ways to put pressure on families already at breaking point.

We can leave the legal experts to fight over the legally of all this but there is no moral defence for what we’ve seen” he said.


[i] Article 22 of the United Nations Convention on the rights of People with Disabilities guarantees privacy.