The mother of a severely disabled teenager has accused the Western Trust of failing her son after she was told she must put him into residential care in England because there is nowhere suitable in Northern Ireland.
Tyrone Muldoon (16) has the genetic condition Cornelia de Lange Syndrome which, along with a host of physical disabilities, means he is prone to violent and uncontrollable outbursts towards anyone near him.
Tyrone can also direct these violent episodes at himself including attempting to throw himself down stairs, banging his head against walls and floors and trying to gouge his eyes out.
He lashes out at his mother Rosemary (Rosie) Barrett on a daily basis, pulls her hair, bites, kicks and batters her and the carers, who rarely stay beyond a few weeks.
Ms Barrett, who is from the Rossnagalliagh area of Londonderry, has four other sons including Ryan, who also has a learning disability. She now fears for their safety as well as her own.
As a last resort, Ms Barrett realised residential care would be the best solution.
She was horrified when she was told there was nowhere suitable in Northern Ireland, but that her son could be placed in a facility in England at a cost of £400,000 a year. Ms Barrett said this was totally unacceptable because it would leave her son more isolated and vulnerable.
“The idea of having to put my son into residential care at all is breaking my heart so much,” she said.
“I love my son but I am not physically able to look after him any more, The Trust want me to put him in residential care in England where I would not know who was looking after him, if he was being looked after properly and where I could not go and see him.
“That would also mean taking Tyrone away from me and his brothers, we are the ones he sees every day and I am the one he looks for.
“The Trust has said there is nowhere suitable for Tyrone here but they are able to pay £400,000 a year to put my son in care in England.
“I know Tyrone has profound needs because I am the one who is looking after him every day.”
Describing her daily routine, Ms Barrett added: “I have to wash and dress Tyrone including change his nappy, all while he can be fighting against me, pulling my hair, biting me or kicking me, so by the time the carers come I am exhausted but I have four other sons including Ryan, who also has a learning disability, so I can’t rest.”
She added: “I haven’t much energy left in me but with the little I do have left I am going to fight to get Tyrone the care he needs here, and not let him be shipped off to England.”
The case has been raised with the Western Trust by People Before Profit’s Eamonn McCann.
He said: “Rosie came to me because she was at a loss as to how to get the best care for Tyrone which clearly would be residential care at a facility within the Western Trust.
“She has been told there isn’t anywhere in Northern Ireland but there are places available at facilities in England at an annual cost to the Trust of £400,000 a year.”
The Western Trust said: “Respecting confidentiality, the Western Trust does not comment on the individual treatment and care of its patients or clients.”