'Firetrap' disability unit to get €100,000 funding
A privately-run centre for people with physical and intellectual disabilities, which was found to be a serious firetrap, is to get a €100,000 immediate cash injection from the HSE to make it safe.
Inspectors from the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) were so shocked at conditions at Our Lady's Unit in St Patrick's Centre in Kilkenny that they went to court to obtain an interim order to remove its registration and allow the HSE to take it over.
The unit, which is part of a wider complex and is home to 28 residents, was found to have no automatic fire detection system or alarms in operation despite the physical disabilities of several people who have lived there for most of their lives.
It was not subdivided into fire-resistant compartments and some of the fire exit doors were locked, including with digipads which required a code to open them. The centre has 28 days to come up to standard when the matter will return to Kilkenny district court.
The HSE said yesterday it has brought in more staff and its priority was to ensure the immediate safety and welfare of the residents with €100,000 spent to address fire safety risks.
SIPTU organiser Dave Morris said yesterday deficiencies, including under-staffing, were previously highlighted by workers. He was hopeful the investment in renovations will allow the unit to remain open.
Meanwhile, Inclusion Ireland, the disability support organisation yesterday launched a new guide for people with an intellectual disability who may be at risk of sexual abuse.
A study found a majority who experienced sexual violence had never received information on where to go for support around sexual abuse.