Full independent and transparent investigation into practices of Departments of Health and Education needed to restore disabled people’s trust in State

Press Release from the Independent Living Movement Ireland

“Full independent and transparent investigation into practices of Departments of Health and Education needed to restore disabled people’s trust in State”

Today (Friday 26th March) Independent Living Movement Ireland (ILMI) called for a full independent and transparent investigation into the practices of the Departments of Health and Education and HSE as revealed in the RTE Prime Time Investigates Report. 

“The revelations from the RTE Prime Time programme will have had huge impact not only on autistic children and their families, but to all disabled people. In the year that the State makes its first report to the UN Convention of the Rights of Disabled People (UNCRPD), it is hugely concerning that Government Departments would invest resources to potentially use against people who are forced to take legal action of the State to access their rights to appropriate supports and services. What sort of message does this send out to disabled people who must campaign continually for the supports to live our lives as equals in society only to find out that time and resources are being spent to undermine our rights?” said Des Kenny, ILMI Chairperson.

“Under the UNCRPD, Ireland as a signatory is bound to ‘undertake to ensure and promote the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms’ for all disabled people ‘without discrimination’. It is deeply concerning that intimate details of people’s lives, details about their impairments and their family lives are being shared and potentially used to undermine disabled people’s access to justice and appropriate supports” added Mr Kenny.

“There are data protection concerns which not only effect the families directly affected. There will be disabled children and disabled adults suffering undue stress on because of the issues brought to light in the RTE investigation. Disabled people and their families will want answers and want to know if their personal details have been shared across Government departments without their consent.

The autistic children and their families directly affected by this shocking process need to be contacted directly. Disabled people and their families who are now extremely concerned that their private lives are subject to scrutiny must have answers. An independent enquiry must be prioritized and measures taken to ensure that disabled people or indeed any individuals who challenge State practices are not investigated by State agencies or victimized due to their pursuit of justice. Whilst that process begins, there must be a role for the Irish Human Rights Equality Commission to explore the legal ramifications of potential victimization for the autistic children under the Equal Status Act and the Data Protection Commissioner to fully examine practices of compiling personal details in these dossiers”.