A YOUNG woman with special needs was left locked on her care centre bus for seven hours as it was not checked to see had everyone disembarked.
The woman was found in a highly distressed state by the bus driver seven hours after he had parked and locked up the vehicle following a trip to a care centre for disabled people.
The Moorehaven centre in Tipperary town has apologised after the woman ended up in a remote yard because staff failed to notice that she hadn't arrived at the facility.
The woman embarked on a bus travelling to the centre on April 27 last but remained on the bus because it was not checked.
Although staff at the centre noted her absence, they assumed that she may have been ill and did not plan on attending the centre that day.
A small number of patients travelling on the bus disembarked, however the woman in question remained on board.
The bus then travelled 5km to Limerick junction where it remained parked in a yard for seven hours.
The female patient was eventually discovered in a highly distressed state by the bus driver who notified the centre.
Speaking this morning, centre chairman Denis Kennedy apologised for the major blunder and said that procedures were being put in place to ensure a similar event does not reoccur.
"She was picked up near her home and arrived at Moorehaven.
"The bus wasn't checked to ensure that everyone had disembarked and unfortunately she was left on the bus," Mr Kennedy told RTE's Morning Ireland.
"So there were two failures.
"One was that the bus wasn't walked if you like and checked after the passengers disembarked.
"Secondly, the centre did not have a procedure in place to check that everyone who had got on the bus actually arrived safely at the centre which obviously is a serious gap and a major lapse on our part," he added.
The HSE has been notified on the incident.
According to Mr Kennedy, the woman has remained at home since the incident but is due to return to the centre tomorrow.
"If we get something wrong we hold our hands up. In retrospect, looking back, these were serious gaps.
"Thankfully over the years they haven't caused a problem of this magnitude.
"On this occasion a serious problem did arrive," he added.