Fifty-one disability centres were threatened with closure by the Health Information and Quality Authority last year. Of those, just three centres were shut.

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal the providers of just 18 of the remaining 48 centres have, to date, demonstrated improvements in the safety and quality of service.

At the end of 2017, there were 1,109 disability designated centres across the country, which accommodated 8,842 residents.

Of the current registered centres, 105 have additional non-standard conditions applied to their current registration.

Thirty-five relate to fire upgrade works, while 28 relate to safety and quality of life for residents. 

In 2017, nearly 300 complaints were made to HIQA relating to the care of residents in disability centres.

Over 30% of the concerns relate to safeguarding and safety issues, including assault, neglect and psychological abuse.

Other complaints relate to financial abuse, staff shortages and the administration of medication.

Details of the complaints were released to Fine Gael TD Fergus O'Dowd.

In one case, there was a complaint that a resident was "sexually and physically abused" and "suffered pain during the assaults".

Another complaint related to "incorrect medication" which was dispensed to a resident. It states that the resident suffered a "severe reaction from the incorrect medication and was hospitalised in a comatose state".

In another case referred to HIQA, there was a complaint that there was an infestation of cockroaches in the bedrooms and kitchen of the centre.

The making of a complaint does not necessarily mean the allegation is true.

The documents also reveal that over 800 complaints were made last year in relation to the care of elderly residents in nursing homes.

At the end of 2017, there were 579 designated centres for older people, which accommodated 30,732 residents.

30% of complaints made in relation to elderly people in nursing homes, relate to health and social care needs.

One complaint referred to HIQA outlines how a resident sustained falls necessitating hospital treatment.

HIQA was told that staff did not complete a report on the initial fall, ensuring other staff were aware of the injury, which resulted in the resident suffering further falls.

Another case stated that there was a "strong smell of urine" in a resident's bedroom, but no windows could be opened to ventilate the room.

While another complaint stated that a resident was "confined to bed with no activity and was not allowed to leave the bed".

The document also reveals that 108 complaints were made in relation to the care of children in residential centres, while 69% of the concerns were received directly from a child, a relative or an advocate.

Meanwhile, Mr O'Dowd has said there are huge issues with the management of disability centres around the country. 

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr O'Dowd said he is not happy with HIQA's management of the issues.

 "It's an appalling vista, as far as I'm concerned, in terms of the management and governance of these institutions." 

Data protection issues meant, he said, that HIQA was unable to send all of the allegations to the Ombudsman. 

The Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission said the scale of allegations of abuse sounds very large.

Emily Logan said it is very important that any complaint within a health centre is sent to appropriate statutory body. 

She added it was important that the Ombudsman can get to the bottom of the problems. 

In a statement this evening, Ombudsman Peter Tydall said he had met with HIQA in August to discuss the existing Memorandum of Understanding between HIQA and the Ombudsman.

At the meeting the Ombudsman received assurances that complaints about nursing homes, that are appropriate to the Ombudsman, will be transferred to the office under the Memorandum of Understanding, and will be keeping the situation under review.