Parents are calling for an immediate suspension of a plan to move their loved ones from the campus.
St John of God Kerry Services, which presides over the facility, said it’s undertaking the move as part of this HSE policy of ‘de-congregation’ of residents into the wider community.
In a statement, the HSE said it wishes to assure families and residents of St Mary of the Angels that they will be “fully involved in any proposed changes to residential services provided on the campus in Beaufort”.
It said no changes will proceed until this consultation process has been completed.
The proposed changes are part of the implementation of the ‘Transforming Lives’ programme in which people with disabilities transition to community living with supports.
The model advocates no more than four people with a disability living together in houses, dispersed throughout the local community.
There are currently 76 adults with intellectual disabilities residing on the Beaufort campus.
17 people are accommodated in ward facilities which the HSE say are unsuitable in not meeting HIQA residential standards for people with an intellectual disability. 59 residents live in bungalow style accommodation.
The proposed changes do not affect 60 children attending St Francis Special School, also located on campus, as it comes under the remit of the Department of Education.
The statement concluded any proposed changes will happen on a phased basis and only following a thorough consultation process with all those affected.
The county’s public representatives have condemned plans for de-congregation and are offering support to families and residents of St Mary of the Angels, Beaufort.
Kerry deputies John Brassil of Fianna Fáil, Independent deputy Michael Healy-Rae, Sinn Féin’s Martin Ferris and Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin have asked for the matter be discussed as a topical issue in the Dáil next week.
A number of local councillors have also voiced their opposition to the plans.
Fianna Fáil councillor Norma Moriarty says the issue will be fought ‘tooth and nail’: