Friday 23 February 2018

Polio survivors claim Rehab has reneged on funding promise

Polio survivor Joan Brady protesting outside the headquarters of Rehab yesterday. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Polio survivor Joan Brady protesting outside the headquarters of Rehab yesterday. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

A group of polio survivors protested outside the headquarters of the disability organisation Rehab in Dublin in an ongoing row over financial support.

The campaign group 'Justice for Polio Survivors' said Rehab had the use of the Park House building that was paid for by polio survivors and their families.

Use of the building was given to Rehab when it merged with the Polio Fellowship of Ireland.

The campaigners said Park House, its outbuildings and 3.5 acres in Stillorgan, Dublin, were acquired by the Polio Fellowship in the 1960s "through the tireless fundraising efforts of people who had polio and their families".

They pointed out that at the time of the merger there was a pledge the interests of polio survivors would be protected.

Unfortunately, this has "proved to be untrue", they added.

Polio Survivors Ireland previously received between €30,000 and €50,000 a year from Rehab, but this has ended.

In response yesterday, Rehab chief executive Mo Flynn said she met with the group to discuss issues and was willing to engage with them.

She said Rehab gave €583,000 to polio survivors since 2000 from the Charitable Lottery Fund, which has since ceased. It had a significant affect on Rehab's funding.

"While we have no legal obligation to provide funding to Polio Survivors Ireland; we provided €35,000 towards the cost of a development officer and offered assistance and guidance on specific projects.

"We are hoping to resolve these issues as soon as possible," Ms Flynn added.

Many polio survivors are now suffering from post-polio syndrome, a condition that exacerbates their original disability and causes chronic fatigue and pain.

It means they need ongoing supports.

Irish Independent

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