Horrifying stuff out of Ireland. Out in the small town of Kells (famous for its book) a couple were settling down at home when a knock sounded on their door. It was the Irish Health Service (HSE) Directive, and they had come, with police back up for their four autistic children.
Their crime? To complain about the assistance they were receiving and whilst complaining state that they "couldn't cope".
Dammit there are times when with my, perfectly healthy single child I could be quoted as saying that I "couldn't cope".
What is worse is that the power of the State has caused a news blackout on the story. I am informed that the Irish Times pulled a big piece about the story at the last minute. There has been some reporting, Ulster TV for example but very little.
Kathy Sinnott the mental health campaigning Independent MEP is in Meath today arguing the case and said "My understanding is that the health board seized the opportunity and decided to take those words literally."
Anybody who knows anything about the care of autistic children is aware that routine is terribly important. As one commentator has put it, "carting them off in paddywagons is about the most traumatic thing you could inflict on them, bar actual physical assault".
It appears that the (HSE) refuse to return the children until the parents have undergone "psychiatric assessment". Nobody is sure how long this could take least of the parents
It is of course up to the agencies of the State to decide how much they are willing to help in these cases. They have difficult financial choices to make after all. But this case seems to revolve not on the financial aspects, but on the temerity of the parents to question a state decision. They had to be punished for such lesse majestie, and they are being.
This all has disturbing parallels with the case of the Chris Leppard, the other week taken away because he was too fat.
You are the property of the state, to be disposed off as they see fit.
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