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Who suffers most when HIQA approves places like Áras Attracta?

Like so’many others,I was appalled at the abuses carried out in Aras Attracta. I cringed when I saw the voiceless people with intellectual disablities, being abused and exploited by so called “paid professionals”.

I absolutely reject the nurse’ union attempted explanation, by citing reduced funding and training from a “detached and isolated” HSE bureaucracy.

The idea that training is needed to learn common courtesy skills. That “these kind of people” should be dealt with like  any other human being, is almost criminally wasteful.

Also, staff numbers can only be used as a most feeble excuse. When it comes to this kind of bullying, even one is too many. Surely, what ultimately matters when it comes to staff numbers, should be quality not over-paid quantity!

I found it interesting that one of the most acid tongued, was the trained nurse. It seemed in many ways that these  “under qualified ” care assistant staff, were merely trying to copy the behaviour of the older and wiser (supposedly) staff.

One of the things that is not being teased out in subsequent discussion, has been the huge power imbalances, within such places.

The resident’ there should be seen, and not heard, and I wonder if HIQA even made any effort to hear their voices.

As was said in the report, that they (service uses) should be grateful to have a roof over their heads, so don’t dare complain to anyone, just sit in your chair for 10 hours a day in your own fluids.

Unfortunately I think this mindset is still alarmingly prevalent.

And yet this place was approved by HIQA in May. Is this not a major indictment of their practices, a shaming blow?

In dealing with places like this, HIQA has to try to consider, the thoughts of the residents. They cannot just  deal with paper work and other standards.

I am sure that this place was well cleaned and all the paper work was up to date,. The fact that the clients were being abused, was totally overlooked though.

I am also sure that this place had plenty of notice that HIQA was coming  and that a very false picture of order and harmony, was presented that day.

The Minister for Health is considering the possibility of giving HIQA more powers. Certainly, I understand that a climate of fear will zip your mouth, but I am sure that these people could have expressed their unhappiness, to a trusted family member for example.

Surely they have to revise the standards, by which they judge a place!

The nine staff concerned, have been suspended on full pay. Perhaps this is right, so that the correct procedures should be applied.

It is also absolutely fair that criminal charges should be brought against these individuals, who should never be allowed work with people with any kind of disability again.

It has only been a few weeks and the anger and scrutiny at this issue is beginning to fade, as thoughts naturally turn towards other things. Sadly, if these were cute little animals being mistreated, the focus may have been a lot more enduring.

(I have sent the following email to HIQA last Monday December 15th, but have so far got no response.)

To whom it concerns,

I am doing a blog for my personal website. Could you please answer

the following questions within two working days.

1) Were the residents of Áras Attracta interviewed at all  about their personal feelings of living in bungalow three?

2) Were family members or other trusted  individuals brought  in to assist with their free and unbiased expression?

3) Was prior notice given to Aras Attracta that the HIQA 

team was coming?

4) Are HIQA investigations always meant to be announced?

5)How much emphasis is given to getting the feedback to the  service users?

(Update 16/1/15:Still no response from the HSE. A woman who had seen my blog, and whose daughter lived in Bungalow 4 for seventeen years, has contacted me. Her interesting blog can be found at:


(Update 6/8/16:)No response was ever received to this blog from HIQA!

Some article links used for this blog.

http://www.thejournal.ie/hse-aras-attracta-1825304-Dec2014/ http://www.rte.ie/news/2014/1211/666102-aras-attracta-mayo/

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