Statement on RTÉ Investigates Report

AsIAm, Ireland’s National Autism Charity, is deeply concerned following the RTÉ Investigates programme aired this evening and calls for a thorough, independent investigation into the processes that led to the gathering of data by the Department of Health in respect of families of autistic children pursuing legal action against the State.

Responding to the episode, AsIAm Deputy CEO Fiona Ferris said “I am deeply concerned at what has been shown tonight and my thoughts are with the many families in our community who are undoubtedly worried about their own information. There are a number of questions arising following this gross breach of trust. Parents will be wondering how this was allowed to happen and whether their information was involved.”

“I think the greatest concern arising from what we have learned, is the perpetuation of the attitude and culture towards autistic children and those with disabilities, who are consistently being failed by the state. The question of ‘Is this legal?’ is no longer enough. We must question what is morally right and ethical.”

“At a time when the most vulnerable people in our society required the most support, their data was collected and misused to support legal action against their constitutional and statutory rights being fulfilled, from the state bodies who have been positioned to protect them.”

AsIAm strongly encourages a full review into the culture and attitude surrounding the standard of care and support that autistic children and their families are experiencing. We are seeking an urgent meeting with Minister Stephen Donnelly and Minister Anne Rabbitte to discuss this issue and press for urgent action.

If you or a family member is concerned or distressed following the screening of this episode, AsIAm’s Community Support Team is there to assist you at this time. Please do not hesitate to contact us at info@asiam.ie

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