by Andrew Power
The Irish Human Rights Commission (IHRC) last week published its Enquiry Report into the situation of a group of adults with a severe to profound intellectual disability in the John Paul Centre, Galway. The enquiry found that there were serious gaps in the provision of services to residents or people using the facilities of the Centre.
The inadequate services identified in the report stem from systemic problems with the legislative, strategic and policy frameworks set at the national level. Having examined the relevant international human rights law and its impact on the individuals in the Centre and on people in a like situation, the IHRC considers that in addition to questions of accountability, standards in relation to the right to health, the right to education, the right to non-discrimination and the right to a remedy are not being adequately met in Ireland today.
The IHRC makes 41 recommendations for change that should be swiftly implemented, including:
- Introduction of person-centred needs assessment for all people with disabilities
- Reflection of individual needs in service agreements between the HSE and service providers and proper funding protocols put in place
- Increased speech & language and occupational therapy services at the John Paul Centre
Importantly, it recommends that the Independent Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) standards, which to date are voluntary guidelines, should be made mandatory regulatory standards without delay.