1 million euro Kerry autism centre remains closed – five years after completion

Jimmy Adams outside the residential centre for adults with autism in Dromavalla, Ballyseedy, Tralee, The centre remains unopened.

A centre for adults with autism, that cost more than 1 million euro to build, remains closed – five years after it was built.

In 2014, the Irish Society for Autism held an open day for its  newly built residential centre in Dromavalla, Ballyseedy outside Tralee.

Jimmy Adams from Tralee, whose son James has autism, says it’s not possible to open the centre because of lack of funding.


Radio Kerry has contacted the Irish Society for Autism and the HSE for comment.

It cost over €1 million euro to build the residential centre for adults with autism at Dromavalla – over €200,000 alone was raised through the Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle, as well as other fundraisers, and more than a decade ago, Kerry County Council gave a grant of €900,000.

James Adams and his father Jimmy Adams. Photograph courtesy of Jimmy Adams.
James Adams and his father Jimmy Adams. Photograph courtesy of Jimmy Adams.

Eighteen months ago, Radio Kerry reported that the Irish Society for Autism, along with the HSE and Kerry County Council, were in talks with a third party to operate the centre after it emerged that the ISA had not registered the facility with HIQA, the health and social care standards regulator.

While the centre remains under ISA’s ownership, it was agreed it would be run by the charity Inspire Wellbeing which, last December, registered the facility with HIQA.

Jimmy and Patricia Adams hoped their 28-year-old son James would get a full time residential placement at Dromavalla which can accommodate four service users.

In December, a representative of the HSE’s Cork Kerry Community Healthcare wrote to Junior Minister Brendan Griffin stating that Inspire Wellbeing was working on recruitment and other items in order to begin providing services.

Inspire Wellbeing has refused to comment but Jimmy Adams says the centre has not opened due to lack of funding.

In the letter to Brendan Griffin, the general manager of disability services with Cork Kerry Community Healthcare noted that his organisation had received no funding for 2018 to develop additional residential places in a planned and systematic way and that the known level of need currently exceeds the funding available.

Patricia Adams outside unopened residential centre for adults with autism in Dromavalla, Ballyseedy, Tralee
Patricia Adams outside unopened residential centre for adults with autism in Dromavalla, Ballyseedy, Tralee