The minister with special responsibility for people with disabilities has given assurances to relatives concerned about plans to move the residents of St Mary of the Angels into community settings.
Minister Finian McGrath says the planned move will not go against anybody’s will and that he won’t force anybody into a situation he or she doesn’t want to be in.
Under HSE policy, St John of God, which runs the residential centre in Beaufort for people with learning disabilities, had planned to move residents into the community.
Families say their loved ones regard St Mary of the Angels as their home and that HSE policy doesn’t take into account the needs of people with profound disabilities.
Politicians have united to support the families of residents, some of whom have lived there for decades.
St John of God has given a commitment that no changes would take place without consulting the 77 residents and their families.
Minister Finian McGrath’s told the Dáil that the move might need to be managed in other ways for some residents because of their specific needs.
Fianna Fáil TD John Brassil said the HSE and the Government must steer away from the original plan for St Mary of the Angels and move towards managing and improving the centre in the interests of the community.
He said residents should not be moved out against their wishes.
Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae said some people in St Mary of the Angels would be unable to integrate elsewhere and that residents are already getting excellent care.
Fine Gael senator Paul Coghlan said having spoken to Minister McGrath, he would be hopeful that the matter will be resolved successfully for residents and their families and that he would be speaking with the super junior minister again today.