Facility resident with disabilities had just €20 for five months, Hiqa finds

Watchdog reports non-compliances and insufficient resources in number of centres

A resident at a Dublin facility for adults with disabilities was left with just €20 for five months due to possible financial abuse by a third party, a report by the health watchdog has found.

The finding was contained in a series of reports by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa), following inspections of 35 centres for adults with disabilities operated by nine providers.

Inspectors visiting St Michael's House in Baldoyle, Dublin, on October 20th, 2021, found arrangements around some residents' money were "not transparent".

These cases involved residents who “received support” managing their money from people outside the organisation.


They included one who “had less than €20 for more than five months, which significantly limited their ability to engage in leisure activities or buy personal items such as clothing or toiletries”. While this had been identified as a “safeguarding risk . . . there had been no progress made with regard to addressing the issue”.

In another report, intellectually disabled residents of a Co Limerick centre run by the Brothers of Charity Services (BoCS) were subjected to slapping, hitting, grabbing and verbal abuse by another resident. Hiqa released reports from inspections of 21 centres run by the brothers, a company limited by guarantee, of which 14 had a range of "non-compliances" including with fire precautions, governance and management, residents' rights, general welfare and development, staffing, and individual assessment and personal planning.

‘Negative interactions’

The Casey One centre in Co Limerick, comprising two detached houses and home for up to 10 adults, operated by BoCS, was inspected by Hiqa on November 26th, 2021.

Though a “homelike” centre, an examination of its incident reports found “negative interactions between the residents living there which included some residents slapping, grabbing, scraping, hitting, verbally abusing and threatening other residents living in the house”.

A report by management had “made clear reference to one resident living in this house appearing nervous around another resident” while a staff member told inspectors they didn’t think some residents “were happy or compatible” living together.

The centre was found to be “not compliant” with four of the 15 regulations inspected, including governance and management, notification of incidents and, protection.

The Sonas centre, also in Limerick and run by the Brothers of Charity Services, is home to up to 16 intellectually disabled adults, many of whom had “challenging” behaviours, were non-verbal and “dependant on staff . . . for all activities of daily living”.

‘Complex needs’

Inspected on November 15th, 2021, its residents “appeared happy . . . and were very comfortable in the presence of staff. Staff engagements and interactions were observed to be respectful, gentle and unhurried.”

However, “Residents’ rights and general welfare were impeded by limited staff allocations that were not consistent with the current assessed needs of residents with multiple and complex needs.”

On the day of the inspection, one resident was brought swimming by a staff member, leaving another staff member to care for three residents with “significant vulnerabilities and attention needs.

“At best the staff member ensured all three residents were supervised while attempting to clean the house, set up for meal time, attend to service contractors and assist a resident who attended the bathroom every few minutes.”

Living conditions here were described as “poor”, the buildings “small and uninviting” and residents “had no private or personal space of note”.

At No 4 Fuchsia Drive, a centre operated by the Brothers of Charity Services in Co Cork and home to 15 residents, inspectors visiting on October 18th, 2021, found “evidence that the centre was not sufficiently resourced”.

Both St Michael’s House and the Brothers of Charity Services outlined in the reports their plans to address any shortcomings.

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times