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Press Statement

Irish Society for Autism respond to RTÉ Investigates report on Department of Health

Dublin, 26 March 2021

The Irish Society for Autism has expressed its shock and disappointment at an RTÉ Investigates report on last night’s Prime Time, regarding the Department of Health secretly using information from private doctor consultations to build and maintain dossiers on children with autism and their families who were involved in legal actions against the State.

In many of these cases, autistic children were not receiving adequate supports and were not having their educational needs met. Families had no choice but to take High Court action to assert their rights to education and places in schools, which the Society believes should be available for all. At least four dozen families have been affected by this issue while seeking appropriate and worthwhile education and support services for their children, with many families left with significant legal costs as a result.

The organisation has stated that parents and guardians of autistic children have a right to information and also to privacy regarding personal medical information, and that there is ethically no justification in the Department’s handling of these cases. The Irish Society for Autism believes that the Department’s lack of transparency is wholly unjust and further highlights the urgent need for appropriate legislation to reinforce the rights of those with autism.

For more information on the Irish Society for Autism please visit    


About the Irish Society for Autism

Established in 1963, the Irish Society for Autism is the longest-running dedicated service for people with Autism in Ireland.  The Society’s focus is on supporting autistic people and their families through information services, training, education programmes, research and advocacy. The Irish Society for Autism was a founding member of the World Autism Organisation and Autism Europe.

For more information:

Fionnuala Ennis, Limelight Communications,, 086 319 9226

Kathryn Byrne, Limelight Communications,, 085 223 6033