Disability Federation of Ireland Response to Prime Time Investigates: Inside Bungalow 3

December 16 2014


Dublin, 9th December - The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) stated that it is “gravely concerned and shocked” by the footage shown in the Prime Time Investigates programme this evening (9th December).

John Dolan, CEO of DFI stated “I found the footage on Prime Time this evening highly distressing and shocking and my thoughts go out to the people directly affected by the footage and their family members. I find it so shocking that one human being could behave in the manner shown towards another. At its core this is a matter of basic respect for another person. This is not about lack of training, it is about acting towards others in a way that each of us knows to be respectful and dignified. Equally distressing is to know that others were witness to this and they did not do their simple human duty to stand by those being oppressed. People with disabilities and their families around the country who are accessing disability services will undoubtedly feel concerned and anxious by what they have seen. It is unacceptable that the residents in Aras Attracta have been living in and subjected to these conditions. People with disabilities, regardless of their health condition or where their place of residence may be, are entitled to high quality services, where those charged with supporting them are not the source of fear or hurt to them. These are some of the most vulnerable people in our society who are unable to defend or speak for themselves, and it is disgraceful that these serious shortcomings in their care have taken place. This programme is a severe warning to everyone involved in the disability movement of what can happen when services go very very wrong.”

He continued “Stronger and more potent means of being able to hear and listen to what people with disabilities are experiencing in their own environments need to be identified and acted on. The Citizens Information Act 2007 provided for a Personal Advocacy Service for people with disabilities which would have provided legal powers to enter premises and make enquiries on behalf of persons in residential and day services. Service providing organisations would be legally obliged to co-operate with the service. Seven years later, and this service is not in place because it was decided not to implement the legislation fully due to the commencement of the recession. DFI now calls for the enactment of that legislation as a matter of urgency."

He concluded “We welcome the swift response of the HSE in the establishment of a team to carry out a full investigation into the incidents that were highlighted this evening, and hope that it comes to a timely and appropriate conclusion. DFI is willing to support the HSE with its investigation in any way possible. People with disabilities and their families need to be reassured that steps will be taken to ensure that a situation like this can never happen again.”