'For John, clinic provides vital home away from home'
BARRY Kavanagh's 19-year-old son, John, has been attending a Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) facility since he was six months old.
John, who has cerebral palsy, began therapy at the clinic in Clontarf when he was a toddler and started school there at the age of three. He travels from Rush in east Dublin where he lives with his father Barry and mother Helen, both aged 56.
The couple also have two older children.
Barry said the exorbitant pension funds that had been paid to the CRC's "golden circle" had brought what he described as a "wonderful" organisation into serious disrepute.
He said that the organisation would have to totally rebrand itself if it was to survive the repeated knocks to its reputation.
"These executives have brought the centre of excellence for people with cerebral palsy into disrepute.
"There is a huge amount of work ahead for PR and marketing," he said.
Mr Kavanagh said his son and others like him relied on organisations like the CRC to maintain a certain quality of life.
He described the clinic as "a home away from home" for his son, a place "where he's accepted in his own right as an individual, where people look at him and see John, not his disability".
Without organisations like the CRC, Mr Kavanagh said people with cerebral palsy and spina bifida, who are the service's primary users, would be unable to receive a variety of vital therapies.
His son, John, is due to finish schooling at the facility this year.
After that, Mr Kavanagh plans to enrol him in a two-year CRC-funded transition programme, which will teach him independent living and life skills.
He said that during the summer months when John is not attending school, he requires full-time care from four adults.
He added that this would not be sustainable in the long term.