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Age Action demands answers in wake of RTE expose of abuse of vulnerable adults

Published 09/12/2014


Age Action has expressed concern that footage of serious mistreatment and abuse of adults with intellectual disability at a HSE residential home, filmed by an undercover RTE reporter, highlights major structural failures in the systems designed to protect vulnerable people.

“Age Action condemns the inhuman, degrading and abusive treatment highlighted in tonight’s Prime Time Investigates programme,” Age Action Head of Advocacy and Communications Eamon Timmins said. “We demand answers as to how it could happen at a residential home without being detected and tackled by the support structures in place. Without answers, how can similar cases of seriously sub-standard care be prevented elsewhere across the social care sector?”

The older people’s charity noted that the incidents of residents being force-fed, kicked, slapped, physically restrained and shouted at, only came to light as a result of Prime Time undercover investigation at Aras Attracta, in Swinford, Co. Mayo. 

“Why was this not detected by the HSE’s management and by the HIQA inspectors who visited the home? Why did those working at the home not raise the alarm if they saw abusive treatment occurring,” Mr Timmins said. “These are serious issues which thousands of families with loved ones in residential care need answers to.”

Age Action noted that many adults with intellectual disability (including many older people in nursing homes) are unlawfully detained within the meaning of Article Five of the European Convention on Human Rights. Without having given lawful consent to their admission, they are under the complete and effective control of staff. They cannot leave, and because there is no oversight or review of their situation in line with Article Five, many are condemned to detention for their rest of their lives.

“Tonight’s programme would seem to illustrate the point that people who are made to exchange their liberty for ‘care’ are also sacrificing other important rights when the care provided is sub-standard and abusive,” Mr Timmins said.

Age Action believes that the forthcoming Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Bill should include sections on the deprivation of liberty and how it should be dealt with, while protecting older people’s rights to be treated with dignity and respect. Age Action believes that, in addition to the legislation, the system needs robust oversight by a Public Guardian who watches over the human rights of those who lack mental capacity.




Age Action Ireland to benefit from Gas Networks Ireland Survey

Gas Networks Ireland is raising money for Age Action. If you've recently called their contact centre or had work done by them, you might receive a text from Gas Networks asking for your feedback. For every response received, they'll donate €2 to Age Action. There is no obligation to participate.

How It Works - If you've had contact with Gas Networks Ireland service centre or had work carried out by them, you may receive a message from Marie Lyster, their Customer Experience Manager. This message is an invitation to share your feedback. 

By providing feedback – only if you choose to – you'll be supporting Age Action Ireland. For every piece of feedback received, Gas Networks Ireland will donate €2 to our organisation. This contribution can support our efforts to improve the lives of older people in Ireland.You won't be asked for any bank details or money. Gas Networks Ireland is handling all the donations.

If you would rather not get these texts, just let them know and you won’t be included.  If you are over 65yrs old, you can contact them directly on their Age-Friendly service.  See their contact details here.

For Corporate Clients- Please note that Gas Networks donate €50 for each qualitative interview their commercial customers take part in.

Details on Gas networks customer surveys is available here.

For more information about our work and other ways to get involved with Age Action, please click here.