High Court president meets with HSE over care for wards of court

ireland
Ms Justice Mary Irvine: expressed concerns in a number of cases that wards should not be excessively confined in their placements as a result of Covid-19
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Ann O'Loughlin

The president of the High Court has met with the HSE’s head of disability operations in a bid to ensure the “best possible” services for wards of court affected by restrictions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine, who manages the court’s wardship list, had expressed concerns in a number of cases that wards should not be excessively confined in their placements as a result of Covid-19.

Her concerns arose because Covid-19 has impacted on access of wards to trips and outings outside their placements and on their participation in outside courses and activities.

Concerns

She had requested the HSE to examine the position in the context of a number of wardship cases, particularly relating to young people who are wards.

Ms Justice Niamh Hyland, who also deals with wardship matters, has expressed particular concern about the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on wards who are based in hospitals for long periods.

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On Thursday, Ms Justice Irvine said she had had a “very helpful” meeting with Dr Cathal Morgan, the head of the HSE’s disability operations, that morning in relation to the Covid-19 impact on wards.

Dr Morgan is to bring forward proposals to ensure the “best possible services” are provided to wards, particularly young people, while the pandemic continues, the judge said.

Vulnerable young woman

She made the comments when dealing with a wardship matter concerning a vulnerable young woman from a very impoverished background.

The woman has addiction and other issues and a past history of exploitation by certain family members and others.

Aged in her early thirties, she was reported to have made good progress following her placement in a high support care facility.

The judge welcomed reports showing the HSE has taken steps to ensure the woman continues, despite Covid-19 restrictions, to have various outings, activities and therapies from which she has benefitted.

 

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