Responsibility for the provision of services to young persons with specific needs such as the individual mentioned by the Deputy in the Dublin region is a matter, in the first instance, for the Eastern Regional Health Authority. While it is not usual practice to comment on individual cases, given that detailed reports have already appeared in the media, I will comment on a number of aspects of this case.
The Eastern Regional Health Authority has informed my Department that following a review of all of this young man's records, some of which were only recently made available to the South Western Area Health Board, the advice now available to the board confirms that he requires a specialist service designed to meet his needs. The South Western Area Health Board has made arrangements for a comprehensive assessment of his needs to be carried out this week. The board has also been in contact with a number of service providers in relation to this person, including a facility in the United Kingdom which specialises in such cases. The outcome of this assessment will facilitate the board in its discussions with various services providers to source a suitable care package for him as quickly as possible.
It must be appreciated that a case such as this does not lend itself to easy solutions. The referral process now envisaged by the health authorities will be contingent on the individual himself agreeing to co-operate and attend a service. My Department has also been assured by the authority's regional chief executive that the question of providing funds should not be a hindering factor in this case nor will his age. The difficulty arises more in the identification of a suitable and appropriate placement which will provide the necessary care package to meet this person's complex needs.