Labour Senator Mary Moran said she was disappointed not to get a seconder in the Seanad for an emergency debate on the mistreatment of residents in the disability centre in Swinford, Co Mayo.
She said that Minister for Health Leo Varadkar should come into the House to discuss the revelations in the RTÉ Prime Time programme and that he should tell the House what would happen and set up an independent inquiry.
“On a personal level,” Ms Moran said, “because I have a son who often uses respite services in a residential unit, I felt it very deeply, as did many of the parents who contacted me last night.
“It is sickening to think our most vulnerable people could be treated like that, left 15 hours without food, force-fed, physically hit and mentally abused, with staff refusing to clean them and denying them their basic human rights.’’
Marie Moloney (Lab) condemned the "appalling and disgusting behaviour" shown towards the residents.
“We must also be very careful not to tar every single care facility with the same brush,’’ she said. “I know there are some superb long-stay care facilities for the elderly and people with disabilities up and down the country.”
Darragh O’Brien (FF) expressed “disgust and dismay” at the revelations. “Obviously it will take some time for the Government to respond.”
Colm Burke (FG) said it was important the facts of the report were fully investigated. "One of the things the report highlights is the lack of checks and balances. That is what we need in every system." Mr Burke said a big worry for parents caring for children with disability was who would look after them when they were gone.