The junior minister with Responsibility for Mental Health Jim Daly has expressed concern about conditions in the HSE's 24-hour supervised residences for people with enduring mental illnesses and intellectual disabilities.
He was responding to criticisms in a report on last year's Mental Health Commission inspection of 54 units which found that ten "were in such poor condition that they showed disrespect for the dignity of the people living in them".
In a statement to RTÉ News, Mr Daly said today's inspection reports - and 48 others which were published earlier this year - "are made available to the HSE" which "seek(s) to act on them and remedy any deficiencies highlighted".
The Minister said the Department of Health was committed to the Commission's vision of a mental health service underpinned by the human rights of service users.
"I recognise the fact that improvement is needed to ensure the rights of service users in these 24-hour residences are protected, particularly the areas highlighted in this report, such as the right to privacy and the right to clean, well-maintained accommodation," the statement continued.
"In this regard, enhancing regulation of these residences is an important step in ensuring greater accountability and in protecting the rights of service users.
Currently the Commission has the authority to visit and inspect these 24-hour community residences," the minister stated.
"However, unlike inspection of approved centres, there is no requirement to carry out such inspections in a particular timeframe and the Commission cannot by law enforce their recommendations.
That said, the inspection reports are made available to the HSE and the HSE seek to act on these reports and remedy any deficiencies highlighted.
"In terms of amending legislation to provide for the regulation of such residences, I am committed to making this change in the updated version of the Mental Health Act 2001. In this regard, a comprehensive draft mental health amendment bill has now been provided to the Mental Health Commission for their views.
"This draft bill includes a provision to allow for the regulation of such residences."