Boy (14) ‘existing’ in windowless room off Kerry emergency department for 56 days, Dáil hears

Serious concerns among health staff and community about ‘disgraceful situation’, says Sinn Féin TD Pa Daly

A 14-year-old boy has been in a windowless room off an emergency department in a hospital in Co Kerry for 56 days, the Dáil has heard.

Sinn Féin TD Pa Daly said there are serious concerns among health staff and the community about the “disgraceful situation”.

Mr Daly said the boy, who is a former patient of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services [Camhs], had been “existing” in the room “without a bed” off the hospital’s emergency department.

“It is not the responsibility of University Hospital Kerry – that is not the place for him,” Mr Daly said on Wednesday.


“I believe this a human rights violation because the disability services have not acted. He is a former Camhs patient. He had, I’m told by his mother, ADHD and moderate autism but was put on antipsychotic medication when he was eight years old.

“He has received an apology for the deficits in his care but has long-term side effects as a result of this medication. You would think he would be prioritised and fast-tracked to get the help he deserves and needs. Instead, he is in a windowless room off the emergency department.”

The Kerry TD asked Taoiseach Leo Varadkar if he would step in to ensure the boy receives immediate short-term residential treatment close to home, “not 300km away, so his mother can visit him as often as she wishes”.

In response, Mr Varadkar said he was “sorry” to hear what that boy and his family have had to experience.

However, he said the Health Act makes it unlawful for him or any minister to direct the HSE to do anything for any particular patient.

“That would not be right, for all sorts of reasons,” Mr Varadkar said. “If you want to send me on the details and permission from the family to take an interest in the case, I will certainly do that.”

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Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times