Tuesday 17 September 2019

'Fire in my belly': Mum sleeps outside Dáil to protest over two-year wait for baby's therapy

Waiting: Lesley Anne O’Brien outside the Dáil yesterday before her sleep-out. Photo: Owen Breslin
Waiting: Lesley Anne O’Brien outside the Dáil yesterday before her sleep-out. Photo: Owen Breslin
Fiona Dillon

Fiona Dillon

A Dublin mum-of-five slept outside the Dáil last night to highlight "endless" waiting lists for children across the health sector.

Lesley Anne O'Brien (35), from Littlepace in Dublin 15, said her own baby daughter Sienna (15 months) faces a wait of 23 months before she will be seen by an occupational therapist.

Temperatures may have dipped last night, but Ms O'Brien said she had a "fire in her belly" in trying to get improvements in services.

She is also mother to Alex (9), Jamie (8), Amelie (6) and Robyn (4). Her son Jamie was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of seven. She said the sleep-out was part of her campaign to raise awareness.

"I walked in September from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's constituency office into the Dáil highlighting the need for community services for children, hospital waiting lists and youth mental health," she said.

She set up the 'Help Our Children Ireland' Facebook page and said she had been contacted by many parents in a similar position.

The HSE said: "The number of staff employed in early intervention/therapy services (HSE and HSE funded agencies) has grown with significant investment in recent years."

Irish Independent

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