Áiseanna Tacaíochta expresses deep concern at Áras Attracta revelations

Áiseanna Tacaíochta (ÁT) has expressed deep concern and distress at the revelations of abuse and neglect of people with intellectual disabilities in the Áras Attracta care centre.

In light of the footage shown on RTÉ’s Prime Time Investigates programme last night, Director of ÁT, Martin Naughton, said “it is impossible not to be shocked and disturbed by the absolute cruelty and disregard shown towards those living in this centre by those who should have been supporting them.  This not only represents an abject denial of people’s human rights, but a shameful absence on any level of value or respect for another person.  Government and its agencies must take urgent and committed action to ensure that this never happens again”.

He continued, “People with disabilities are entitled to live with dignity and esteem, free from fear or harm; it is unacceptable that this has not been the case.  The only people who demonstrated real ‘challenging behaviour’ and vulnerability in this situation were those who played a part in the cruelty.  The people who were treated so callously and their families should stand extremely proud: they acted with true dignity and demanded respect all the way through”.

“The nine staff who have been suspended do not deserve the dignity of payment or the luxury of time off at home.  They should be working under direct supervision in a separate section of the health services until whatever due process necessary to remove them is complete”, he stated.

ÁT is highly mindful of the many wonderful care workers and Personal Assistants (PAs) across the country who are just as appalled and outraged at this mistreatment.  It is vital that their work and the hugely positive difference they make in people’s lives is not devalued or disparaged by the actions of the staff who engaged in this abuse, with Mr Naughton encouraging them to remain strong and hopeful.

He concluded, “Today marks International Human Rights Day, and what we saw last night epitomises a shocking denial of the equal rights of people with disabilities.  As well as the immediate and conclusive action needed from Government, we must all now reflect on the role we can play in recognising disability as a human rights issue, and valuing every person living with a disability as the full, vibrant and dynamic individual they are.  By committing to work together now to prevent this situation from ever arising again, we can build a strong future that respects, involves and includes everyone equally”.

For more information, contact Orlaith Grehan, ÁT Communications Officer, at orlaithatnetwork@gmail.com or on 086 183 1502.

 Image by Stuart Miles used with courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net