DPAC have published pieces on Anthony and his situation since late 2013.
DPAC firmly believe that Anthony's desire for independent living, instead of institutionalisation should be upheld, as per Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
DPAC also believe that they have a duty to raise public awareness on Anthony's experiences.
DPAC will continue to campaign and to support Anthony, his parents: Linda and Sigi and his chosen advocate Joe Whittaker in any way we can.
Anthony's parents Linda and Sigi kindly agreed to an interview from their home in Ireland. DPAC are grateful for their time and honesty.
1. As you may know supportive web sites and grass root disability groups in the UK and Europe received a solicitors 'cease and desist' letter regarding talking about Anthony's circumstances, we can not talk about that specifically, but as Anthony's parents and his legal guardians-what are your thoughts on:
a) the suggestion of the protection Anthony's 'confidentially' :what has Anthony said to you on this, what is it that he wants to say about his circumstances? And as his parents what is it you would like to say?
Anthony repeatedly asks us to get him out of Nua and that he wants independent living in his own home near to his family. We fully support Anthony and take our lead from Anthony. He wants us to do whatever is necessary to help him to get back to independent living
b) We understand that Anthony's chosen means of communication has been denied, can you tell us a bit about that?
Despite the fact that Nua were given Speech and Language reports from two Health Service Executive (HSE ) Senior Speech and Language Therapists, Speech and Language report from Central Remedial Clinic Speech Therapist and Marion Stanton communication expert in U.K no staff at Nua are trained up in his communication Marion offered to come to Ireland (in March 2014) to train Nua staff, but Nua did not invite her over in fact Noel Dunne said on the phone that they would get their own experts.
2.Anthony lived in his own flat with his own personal assistants for almost 3 years - why do you think it is proving so difficult for Anthony to exercise his right to independent living by living in a place of his own choosing now?
Having had independent living from 2010-2012 with Cheshire Ireland where Cheshire took a back seat, we recruited Anthony's staff with Anthony, put together a schedule which Anthony helped in planning and we negotiated with Dublin City University (DCU) and Anthony attended DCU lectures which is something he always wanted to do.
In 2013 Anthony service was given over to Áiseanna Tacaíochta Network (ATN) by HSE with no meaningful negotiations with Anthony or us, no explanation was given. Martin Naughton the Director of ATN carried out the negotiations with Geraldine Murphy HSE Disability Manager. Martin then imposed his staff on Anthony, none of which believed in Anthony's communication and Anthony's whole quality of life suffered a great deal under the service of ATN.
Martin tried to dictate visiting hours for Anthony, restricted his movement. Basically we had to go to Anthony's home every evening to take Anthony out as he was effectively under virtual house arrest.
Martin also applied to the Dept of Social Protection to have Anthony's personal disability allowance payment paid into the ATN company.
Following Martin's email we contacted the department objecting and it took about a year to sort out the stoppage of Anthony's payment due to ATN's actions.
3.What does Anthony say to people fighting the campaign to get him independent living?
Anthony continues to ask us to keep the campaign going. He also appeals to us to ask Nua to stop the forced medication on him. Anthony has know Joe (Whittaker) for about 11 years and always asks us to ask Joe to continue the campaign for him.
We always reassure Anthony that Joe and we his parents are continually campaigning and won't stop until Anthony is released to Independent living. We need to keep repeating this to Anthony to try to help him to survive his time with the Nua institution
4 What efforts have HSE made to discuss Anthony's wishes for independent living with you and Anthony?
Possibilities Plus offered HSE their service to provide Independent Living. Geraldine Murphy has told them that as far as she is concerned the Nua arrangement is permanent. We continue to write to Sheila Marshall the other Disability Manager involved.
5.Who do you recognise outside the family as closest to Anthony and who has Anthony chosen as an advocate?
Anthony chose Joe Whittaker as his advocate and we keep Anthony informed about the campaign. We Anthony's parents feel encouraged and very appreciative of Joe's on going support. We are all grateful that many more people know what is going on and we really appreciate all the support that Anthony is being given by growing numbers of people.
6.Prior to Anthony being institutionalised did Anthony have a history of hospitalisation
No, prior to ATN taking over the management of Anthony service, Anthony was on a strict gluten and dairy free diet. He was not given ANY medication but took natural supplements. When ATN took over Anthony's service ATN stopped Anthony's special diet against the advice of the family doctor claiming that they found him to be "often hungry". This caused Anthony pain and subsequently contributed to his virtual "house arrest".
7.When did forced medication start for Anthony
Anthony was medication free when he entered Redwood ( a prior institution). However three days after he entered Redwood we got a phone call confirming that Anthony's crucial special gluten and dairy free diet was not being adhered to by Redwood and that they were giving him medication.
8.Did Anthony have a history of being hospitalised prior to being institutionalised
No. Despite the fact that we gave Redwood Anthony's GP letter and met with Management when we were told that Anthony was been given medication and that his diet was not adhered to. Anthony was hospitalised by emergency ambulance with seizures for the first time in his life. Tests showed no epilepsy.
9.Did Nua continue with the drugs regime
When Anthony started in Nua he was not drugged according to our information. However in March 2014 Anthony was admitted to hospital by emergency ambulance. Since Anthony started in Nua he has been admitted twice to hospital by emergency ambulance and continues to be medicated.
10.Did Nua give you the list of Anthony's medication
No despite the fact that we repeatedly asked Nua for the list of Anthony's medication they refused to give it to us. We finally got the list of medication when our solicitor requested the medication list from HSE when Sheila Marshall, Disability Manager issued the medication to our solicitor so we then had access to this crucial information.
11.How does Anthony spend his weekdays
When Anthony started at Nua we attended a conference explained the significance of training for staff of Anthony's communication. We also told everyone who attended the meeting from HSE and Nua that Anthony hates farms. He attends the Nua farm daily where we recently witnessed Anthony shovelling manure into a wheelbarrow in a highly distressed state and being told "good boy keep going". Anthony is a 26 year old man not a "boy".
12.How did Anthony appear on your recent visit to him on the Nua farm
When we drove into the car park we could hear Anthony's anguished sounds and rushed to find him. We were shocked to see him shovelling manure into a heaped wheelbarrow. Anthony's anguished sounds increased significantly whilst bringing the heaped wheelbarrow down the very steep hill to the lower Nua gardens. We emailed Nua voicing our concerns but received a registered letter from Nua yesterday informing us that Anthony has been returned to the farm as of 8 September 2014 so we continue to worry significantly about Anthony's health and safety in Nua.
13. What would you say to parents/people in a similar situation to that of Anthony?
We would say never give up. Everyone is entitled to be listened to, no one's basic human rights should be abused. We would encourage people to speak up if they can.
14.What would you and Anthony say to the people supporting Anthony?
Anthony is continually thanking people for their support which he needs to stay strong. Anthony is particularly grateful to his and our friend Joe Whittaker
Video of Anthony typing thank you to supporters:
If you can help please contact Anthony's chosen advocate Joe: firstname.lastname@example.org
- ATN Áiseanna Tacaíochta Network
- DCU Dublin City University
- DPAC Disabled People against Cuts
- HSE Health Service Executive: responsible for the provision of healthcare providing health and personal social services for everyone living in Ireland, with public funds.