Anthony has the label of Autism, he does not use the spoken word but he is able to communicate very effectively through typing on his light writer. Anthony’s struggle for independent living highlights important issues for all disabled people, living in Ireland and Europe who have a human right to independent living as per article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The catalogue of mismanagement and abuse outlined below demands a full and independent enquiry into the unacceptable experiences of Anthony.
For almost three years Anthony (now 26) had his own apartment in Dublin, he had 24hr personal assistance, and he was attending university classes. His support was managed by Cheshire Ireland, who fully accepted and welcomed Anthony’s communication and his voice. Cheshire Ireland managed the funding for support for over two years, which was provided by Health Service Executive of Ireland (HSE).
However, without consultation with Anthony or his Family a new organization took over Anthony’s support arrangements Áiseanna Tacaíochta Network (ATN) This organization was imposed upon Anthony and his family by HSE.
ATN did not accept Anthony’s communication, which caused a breakdown of Anthony’s support arrangements, including the Director informing Anthony’s parents that he had completed the necessary forms to have Anthony’s personal disability benefits paid into ATN accounts; this was without consent or consultation with Anthony or his family. As a result Anthony’s personal disability allowance was suspended. (Leaving Anthony without his own money for 10 months). After six months of ATN management the director had a private meeting with HSE to recommend Anthony goes into residential institution for further assessments.
Anthony and his family opposed such a retrograde step. At the same time ATN took the bizarre step of refusing to renew the rental agreement on Anthony’s accommodation, which resulted in Anthony being made homeless. He therefore had no meaningful choice but to accept the residential assessment at Redwood Centre, Stamullen in Ireland.
Within days at Redwood Anthony was put on antipsychotic medication and taken off his important gluten and diary free diet, against the strong protest of himself and his family, and against medical advice of Anthony’s own doctor (GP). Redwood ignored these representations. A few days later Anthony was admitted as an emergency patient from Redwood to a general hospital having had a series of nine seizures. Anthony had never experienced seizures prior to being admitted to Redwood.
Redwood also refused to accept Anthony’s communication needs and after several months, still on the same medication Anthony was refused the right to attend his own case conference at Redwood by Redwood senior staff and by HSE.
Anthony was removed from Redwood in December 2013, but is now at another institution, as the option of moving back into his old accommodation is no longer available to him due to the actions of ATN.
Redwood has refused to comment on Anthony experience whilst at Redwood.
HSE has refused to comment upon Anthony’s experience at Redwood.
ATN has refused to comment on Anthony’s experience at Redwood or their actions.
All involved appear to deny responsibility for any of the severe impacts on Anthony’s life or the removal of his right to live independently through their actions.
Anthony and his family want a full and independent enquiry into the unnecessary and unacceptable actions leading to this total abuse of Anthony’s human rights.
Important Questions for the Health Service Executive:
1. Why did the HSE change Anthony’s support arrangements to ATN without consultation with Anthony or his family, prior to those arrangements being completed?
2. Why did the HSE allow ATN to take over the management of Anthony’s support arrangement when ATN had not consulted with Anthony of his family?
3. Why did the HSE allow ATN to stop Anthony’s personal disability allowance without any consultation with Anthony of his parents?
4. Why did the HSE allow ATN to end the rental contract of Anthony’s accommodation without Anthony’s or his family’s permission?
5. Why did the HSE accept the recommendations of ATN, for Anthony for residential assessment when ATN failed to discuss such a recommendations with Anthony or his family?
6. Why did the HSE allow Redwood to administer Antipsychotic medication and remove his gluten and dairy free diet to Anthony without his permission and against the advice of Anthony’s own family doctor and parents?
7. Why did the HSE not explain to Anthony or his family why he was admitted as an emergency patient to the general hospital?
8. Why did the HSE refuse to allow Anthony to attend his own Case Conference at Redwood?
Friend of Anthony
Please email Joe with messages of support to pass on to Anthony, or if you can help in any way please contact Joe.
ENIL apologises to anyone wishing to leave comments under this article, but we had to remove them under threat of legal action for defamation. We are in the process of preparing an update on the case, which will be published on our website. If you have any questions regarding the case or offers of assistance, please direct them to Joe Wittaker at Whittakerjoe5@gmail.com