The Irish Statute Books published by the Attorney General contain regulations about how to run a restaurant (S.I. No. 147/1988 – Special Restaurant Licence (Standards) Regulations, 1988).

If you want to run a restaurant you need to be qualified, experienced, and capable. Your cook needs to hold a recognised qualification, and you can only employ properly skilled staff. That’s the law and you were probably aware of it.

1) The restaurant shall be managed by, and under the continuous supervision of, a competent person who has adequate catering experience and training and is fully capable of operating the restaurant to the standards set out in these Regulations.

(2) The person in charge of the preparation of meals shall be a person who holds a recognised qualification in catering or has practical experience in the preparation of meals of a high standard, and shall have a thorough knowledge of the supervision of a restaurant kitchen.

(3) Properly skilled staff shall be employed in all departments of the restaurant and provide a satisfactory standard of service during the hours in which meals are served.

There are regulations about toilets in the restaurant, e.g. that you need toilets for males and females (they need to update that legislation:) and that toilets shall contain water closets (who would have thought!). That’s the law and you were probably aware of it.

9. (1) A restaurant shall have cloakroom facilities and toilets.

(2) Toilets shall be provided separately for male and female customers and be easily accessible from all public areas of the restaurant.

(3) Such toilets shall contain:

( a ) water closets (hereinafter referred to as WC) in separate compartments;

( b ) fixed wash-hand basins equipped with plumbing for the continuous supply of hot and cold water and the disposal of waste.

(4) The minimum number and type of sanitary fittings installed in such toilets shall be calculated in relation to the number of diners to be accommodated in the premises at any one time as set out in the Table to this Regulation.

When I filled in the online form of the HSE’s public consultation process on home care, I read the following:

There is currently no statutory regulation of home care services. A recent national opinion poll commissioned by the Health Information and Quality Authority6 (HIQA) found that 76% of people that responded mistakenly thought that home care services are independently regulated or monitored.

Please, take a minute and read the above again.

You read correctly: no regulations. Nil. Nothing. Nada.

There are legal regulations about toilets in restaurants – but none about home care. A care agency could sent an unqualified, unexperienced taxi driver to look after Pádraig. They could not comply with their contractual obligations. And there are no statutory obligations that would legally prevent them from doing this. If we let them.

Can you believe it?