A centre for adults with intellectual disabilities has been sharply criticised following an unannounced inspection by the health and social services watchdog.

The Health and Information Quality Authority found that the St Michael's House-run centre in Co Meath locked doors without assessing the risk to residents in the event of a fire.

The authority also said the centre was so under-staffed that one resident frequently could not have a daily shower until 5pm.

The controversial report is one of 12 published today by HIQA on unnamed residential centres for people with disabilities.

The only two unannounced inspections followed complaints about centres run by St Michael's House Services in Co Meath and HIQA criticised one of them.

It caters for five residents, both male and female, who have a range of intellectual disabilities and, in some cases, challenging behaviours.

HIQA found that staff separated residents who had altercations by locking one of them into a room.

It criticised the absence of a risk assessment for this practice and said St Michael's House's policy prohibits seclusion.

The centre's front door was kept locked at all times to prevent one service-user from absconding.

HIQA criticised the failure to review this during the previous nine months, despite evidence that the resident had not attempted to abscond in that period.

It also criticised the lack of a risk assessment for the door-locking in the event of a fire or emergency evacuation.

It said the practises breached St Michael's House policies as they had not been submitted to the organisation's central monitoring group.

HIQA said medication was unaccounted for and complaints management, staffing and staff training also require immediate and sustained attention.