Not just another winter’s tale

 

Sir, – Reading the story, “Brain-damaged homeless man in Mountjoy for year after HSE cancels care plan” (Home News, December 6th), “scandalous” is the word that comes to mind.

Mr Justice Kelly described it as, “A truly awful situation and one that should not exist in a civilised state”. A comment no doubt all would agree with.

Many people will be shocked by this story, but here in the Alice Leahy Trust, given what we see regularly, sadly it does not shock us. Regarding a reference to the man having “Ram’s horn” (a toenail condition), this is something we come across often, together with many other health issues generally associated with third-world conditions.

This should not be a case of “Just Another Winter’s Tale”. It is the story of a poor man neglected by the State. The many professionals who dealt with this man should hang their heads in shame.

“It is not my responsibility” are words we hear regularly when trying to help the people who use our service, many of whom have mental health issues and can at times be difficult. That is, of course, if you get someone to talk to.

While we are well aware of one’s right to privacy, “I can’t discuss this with you due to GDPR regulations” is another term bandied about, an excuse for doing nothing all too often used by people charged with certain responsibilities.

This at a time when millions of taxpayers’ money are being spent. Selected personnel with limited experience discuss plans behind closed doors with decisions then rubber-stamped by officials. The people involved in drawing up these plans rarely have human contact with the “person” only referred to as the “client” or “case”.

It is clear that the issue raised by Mr Justice Kelly and ME Hanahoe Solicitors in the case of the man in Mountjoy is a wake-up call that must not be ignored by our politicians. We should be grateful to them, even though I know they would not be seeking compliments.

Any one of us could be in the shoes of that poor vulnerable man. Only by placing ourselves in the shoes of that man can we ever hope for a better public service. – Yours, etc,

ALICE LEAHY,

Director of Services,

Alice Leahy Trust,

Dublin 8.