« BackHIQA finds ‘insufficient’ measures in place to safeguard vulnerable residents from abuse

A state watch dog has concluded that there were insufficient measures in place to safeguard residents with learning disabilities from abuse at a residential centre in Kerry.

The allegations of abuse had been made in the week before the HIQA inspection of Kerry Parents and Friends’ centre in Listowel.

It relates to allegations of abuse of a non-sexual nature.

Last April, inspectors from the Health Information and Quality Authority visited the organisation’s facilities in Listowel and Killarney.

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The HIQA inspector concluded that based on the nature of the allegations, there were insufficient measures in place in Kerry Parents and Friends’ centre in Listowel to safeguard residents from all forms of abuse.

However, the inspector found that the plan submitted by Kerry Parents and Friends in response to HIQA’s concerns was robust and outlined sufficient measures to safeguard all residents.

Staff had received training in relation to responding to incidents, suspicions or allegations of abuse.

Systems were also put in place to appropriately investigate the allegations in line with national guidance and legislation.

The two HIQA reports arising from its visits to the Listowel and Killarney centres also raised concerns about fire safety measures in both facilities.

The reports found that measures were inconsistent in four houses in Killarney so that the centre did not comply with regulation.

HIQA found that staff had sound knowledge of each resident’s needs and that they were attuned to residents’ health and well being.

CEO of Kerry Parents and Friends Marie Linehan says they had been dealing with the allegation of abuse in Listowel, and had informed the HSE of the matter. She says they treat such allegations very seriously and residents and relatives of residents should have no concerns over how they deal with these kinds of allegations.  

She says Kerry Parents and Friends have very stringent procedures relating to fire safety.

She says the improvement works required by HIQA would require significant resources.