By Sean Moriarty


St John of God Kerry Services, operator of the St Mary of the Angels facility in Beaufort, has defended claims made by a Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).


HIQA visited St Mary’s of the Angels last August and in a report published this week found a number of shortcomings including the number of staff allocated to residents and the general upkeep of buildings.


In 2009, St John of God Kerry Services’, who provide training, employment, social and residential programmes for over 300 children and adults with intellectual disabilities throughout the county, had an annual HSE allocation of €17.2m.


In 2019, the allocation was €16.9m. Yet over this 10 year period, the level of service provided in Kerry grew significantly with a new day centre opening in Tralee and expansions in Listowel, Killarney and Killorglin.


Earlier this month the Killarney Advertiser reported that St Mary’s of the Angels will be forced to cut services after the HSE announced a county-wide cut of €160,000.


“We acknowledge the issues highlighted in the report and these clearly fall below the standards we strive to deliver and the mission and values which underpin our service,” a St John of God Kerry Services spokesperson told the Killarney Advertiser.


“Many of these challenges arise regrettably due to ongoing funding shortfalls in disability services locally and nationally. We are happy to report that since this inspection last August, a significant action plan has been undertaken to bring the centre into compliance including a refurbishment programme, a recruitment campaign and additional training of staff, and improved care planning for residents. Every inspection conducted in the facility recognises staff members and their kind and considerate approach with residents and we would wish to emphasise their positive contribution in sometimes challenging circumstances.”


Over the last two years alone, we have suffered further significant cuts totalling €272,000 and a further proposed cut of €160,000 has been imposed for 2020, they added.


“The level of supports required by our service users has also increased significantly in that period, due to their advancing age profile and increased medical needs. These cuts have been a significant contributor to our financial deficit which has come in at €1.25m for each of the last two years.”