A Wexford woman who said she was advised by the Health Service Executive to call gardaí to take her son into custody if he "put other family members at risk" because respite services were unavailable, has called for services to be more consistent with people's needs.
Jane Johnston had been seeking weekend respite support for her two sons who both have autism, Evan (aged 17) and Daniel (aged 13).
Evan has severe autism, is visually impaired, and has significant mobility issues.
Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Seán O'Rourke, Mrs Johnston described how the HSE suggested that her children could avail of "home-from-home care", which she described as a form of foster care.
She said this greatly upset her because she "was just looking for a few hours here and there".
Mrs Johnston said when she challenged the HSE about this she was told she could be referred to Tusla if she did not agree to call the gardaí should her son put other people at risk.
"The HSE told me that there were no services available that weekend, and I then said to them what do you suggest I do if we're at risk here and I was advised that I should call the gardaí?
"Evan has a significant intellectual disability, he certainly doesn't have any criminal intent, he hasn't broken any laws, he simply needed to get out of the house for few hours. I made my feelings clear and I was advised that I could be referred to Tusla in the absence of my consent."
Mrs Johnston's husband died suddenly at the age of 50, and since then she has been the sole carer for her sons.
The Today with Seán O'Rourke programme requested has requested a response from the HSE to the events outlined by Mrs Johnston.