Wednesday 24 January 2018

Family must drive 100km a week just to give little Amelia (2) a bath

Amelia Murphy (2), who has cerebral palsy, with her father Aidan
Amelia Murphy (2), who has cerebral palsy, with her father Aidan
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

A quadriplegic two-year-old who suffers from cerebral palsy is travelling more than 100km every week to have a bath as her council-provided home is not up to the standard she needs.

Amelia Murphy only has the use of one arm and is severely dependent on the care of her parents, who have to carry her when she needs to be moved.

Father-of-four Aidan Murphy (52) said that his family's three-bedroom house in Moyvanne, Co Kerry, was unsuitable because it did not have a bath and was overcrowded.

"There is no bathroom here, only a shower. It is a corner unit and Amelia can't stand up, sit up or use her right arm, so you have to hold her all the time. We need a proper bath to do that," said Aidan.

"She is totally dependent on special chairs, special frames and she has to be carried everywhere," he added.

"Amelia needs to have 24-hour care, so either I or my partner are always with her."

Mr Murphy drives her to his mother's house in Listowel at least four times a week for baths.

They were previously living in another house in the area but were forced to move because of Amelia's condition.

"She is prone to chest infections and colds and things like that.

"Our previous house was too cold for her, so I got this one. It is a nice house but as she is growing older [it is not suitable]," he said.

"When we moved in, we didn't really understand her condition and we didn't realise how difficult it was going to get."

Mr Murphy said he understood that finding suitable accommodation was a challenge for Kerry County Council, which had advised him to consider living in another area.

However, he said that it was important that the family remain in Moyvanne, where they were close to friends and family.

"The council want us to go to Tralee, but I don't know anybody there. My family are in Listowel, so at least if I am not here my sisters and mother are not too far away and they can drive."

A spokesman for Kerry County Council said that it was doing its utmost to assist the family.

"We remain committed to meeting the family's housing requirements and will continue to keep the family briefed and updated on these efforts as has been done to date," said the spokesman.

Irish Independent

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