Independent inspections of Ireland’s residential services for children and adults with disabilities will commence later this year.

The announcement was made at the launch of the first set of national standards for the sector and follows years of lobbying by people with disabilities, their families and advocates.

Almost 10,000 people with disabilities live in around 1,200 residential services around the country.

The Government believes standards are generally high.

However, a Health Service Executive report into complaints at two Brothers of Charity centres in Galway revealed that staff had raped and flogged inmates up to 15 years ago.

The new national standards have been approved by the Heath Information Quality Authority, and mandated by three ministers including Minister of State Kathleen Lynch.

She said registration of the residential centres would begin in September followed by some inspections before the year's end.

Ms Lynch said the service-providers would pay a registration fee and that they would be treated similarly to nursing home proprietors, who already pay towards the cost of HIQA inspections.