Friday 23 February 2018

'Hearing what CEO got was a million times worse than the top-ups'

Hazel Whelan with her son Leon at their home in Stratford on Slaney, Co.Wicklow Photo: Michael Kelly
Hazel Whelan with her son Leon at their home in Stratford on Slaney, Co.Wicklow Photo: Michael Kelly

Brian Byrne

HAZEL Whelan's son, Leon, has been availing of a Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) facility for more than 10 years.

Leon, aged 14, has cerebral palsy, and attends school and receives a number of therapies at the facility situated in Clondalkin, south Dublin. He is the only son of Ms Whelan and her partner Mark, who live in Co Wicklow.

Ms Whelan described the revelations that former CEO of CRC Paul Kiely received a pension package of more than €700,000 as "horrific".

"I think it's an absolute disgrace. When you think of the services that have been cut, what that money could have been spent on. I'm horrified," she told the Irish Independent.

She said hearing the news was "a million times worse" than when it was reported that donations to the private and state-funded clinic had been given as top-ups to members of the CRC's board of directors.

Ms Whelan said that above anyone else it would be children like her son, Leon, who would suffer.

While she has great admiration for the clinic and its staff, she told Joe Duffy on RTE's 'Liveline' that services had been cut back, particularly over the last couple of years.

Leon previously received physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and occupational therapy once per week. But now the frequency of these services has reduced considerably.

Due to what his mother believed were budget cuts, Leon now receives blocks of speech and language therapy and physiotherapy for a six-week period once each school year, while he sees an occupational therapist once every two to three months.

"When my son started in 2003, there were only 35 children using the facilities. That's doubled now, while the number of therapists hasn't really changed," she said.

Irish Independent

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