The Health Service Executive has said that ten members of staff and one agency worker have been taken off duty at two care units for people with intellectual disabilities near Roscrea, Co Tipperary.

In a statement, the HSE said the Daughters of Charity, who operate the centre on its behalf, took the step after it received a number of complaints about care practises from a person who has worked there.

Management at the Daughters of Charity told RTÉ News that the complainant has worked at both of the bungalows at the centre of its ongoing investigation.

In a statement, the CEO of the Daughters of Charity said the first they heard of this complaint was Monday of this week.

They understand this is also when the Health and Information Quality Authority received the complaint.

The statement adds that the allegations are "not of a gratuitously violent/sexual nature but any act which impinges on the rights and dignity of our residents is considered to be serious therefore as a protective measure, while the allegations are being screened, it has been agreed that ten staff will be placed on leave until we have completed the screening process." 

A HIQA spokesman said the complainant approached it with concerns and that the St Anne's Centre was inspected as a result.

Meanwhile, Minister for Primary and Social Care Kathleen Lynch has said while it is worrying concerns have been brought to the HSE it is also encouraging that HIQA is "uncovering concerns of poor and unacceptable standards of care".

A HIQA spokesman said the authority is continuing a regulatory process at the Roscrea centre.

He said the complainant's unsolicited information was provided well before the broadcast nine days ago of the RTÉ Investigations Unit report 'Inside Bungalow 3' which exposed psychological and physical abuse - including force-feeding, slapping and rough handling - of three older women with intellectual disabilities at the HSE-run Áras Attracta home in Swinford, Co Mayo.

This evening's HSE statement makes no mention of HIQA's involvement in developments at St Anne's in Roscrea.

It says the workers "who form part of the complaint have been placed "off duty" without prejudice and as a "protective measure".

Both units at the centre of the complaints form part of an inter-connected group of four houses for long-term residents aged between 20 and 60 with what management calls "significant intellectual disabilities".

The statement says that both the HSE and the centre's management have notified An Garda Síochána  and HIQA about the complaints.

In her statement, Ms Lynch said it is only through exposing poor and unacceptable standards of care "that we can start to effect improvements in care for the most vulnerable people in our society". 

And she reiterated her encouragement to anyone who has concerns regarding the care of vulnerable adults to speak to the HSE, HIQA, the Ombudsman or gardaí. 

She said such people can also make a complaint under the Protected Disclosure or Whistle Blower legislation.

The Daughter of Charity management says that the service's national director of nursing is conducting a clinical review at the Roscrea facility on foot of the allegations. 

The Daughter of Charity Disability Support Service caters for almost 800 people with disabilities at locations in Dublin, Limerick and Sean Ross Abbey outside Roscrea.

In earlier times, Sean Ross Abbey was operated by a separate order, the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary, as a mother and baby home. 

In 2007 the Daughters of Charity Service was invited by the HSE to manage the residential services of St Anne's in Roscrea, which before now had been provided by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary.

The HSE statement says a detailed examination of the complaints is underway and that its management in the midwest has established a Safeguarding Team to support the Daughters of Charity in dealing with the concerns raised by the complainant. 

It stresses that the HSE urges staff and clients to make complaints where they are aware of abuse or bad practices or attitudes towards any vulnerable people.

It promises that the HSE will respond to any such complaints in an appropriate and expeditious manner.

And it underlines that a Confidential Recipient, Leigh Gath, has been appointed to receive any complaints which complainants have concerns about raising.