A TEENAGE boy has been forced to crawl around his own home on his hands and knees and attend secondary school in a wheelchair because of a massive waiting list for prosthetic limbs.
Ronan Kiely (14), from Boherbue, Co Cork, outgrew his old prosthetic right leg and has been waiting almost eight months for a replacement limb from the Health Service Executive (HSE).
The HSE said it cannot comment on individual cases but confirmed a massive demand and an already stretched budget for prosthetic limbs in the Cork-Kerry region.
"There is a limited budget for the supply of prosthesis and orthotics," a spokesperson said.
More than 120 people are now on the waiting list with delays of up to 12 months being experienced in some cases.
Despite a letter from his GP last November warning that a replacement limb was needed urgently, Ronan is still awaiting the go-ahead for a new, larger prosthetic leg.
The teen had used his old adapted limb for so long that it posed a threat to the graft area of his leg.
His mother, Margaret, said the family are now at their wits' end.
"It is very upsetting to watch Ronan going around the house on his knees," she said.
"Ronan is an otherwise perfectly able-bodied child -- he has been rendered disabled again for the sake of saving a few thousand euros," she said.
The fact Ronan has had to start using a wheelchair again has had devastating consequences for the bright 14 year old.
He now cannot participate in school sports events and will even have to miss the annual school tour with his classmates and friends next Tuesday.
Ronan -- who is one of triplets -- lost his right leg in a tragic accident 12 years ago.
Friends of the Kiely family are now to directly appeal to local TDs and Health Minister James Reilly to intervene to end the impasse.