Thursday 17 October 2019

Martin claims there's a 'real crisis' in disabilities support services

Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin
Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

THE government has been criticised amid claims there is a "real crisis" in supports for carers of people with disabilities.

Speaking in the Dáil, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin raised a series of cases that have brought to his attention including difficulties in foster care, respite services and services for people with autism.

He said parents are "exhausted and beaten down" and put it to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that there is a "real crisis" in the area.

Mr Varadkar agreed it is a very important issue and acknowledged that there are "enormous needs".

But he insisted progress for people with disabilities and their carers is being made after what he claimed argued were "failed attempts" by previous governments.

He noted that the United Nations Convention on the rights of people with disabilities has been ratified and said the Budget in the area now stands at €2bn.

He said he is also aware of individual cases through people who come to his constituency clinic. He said government policies are having practical impacts and listed the recruitment of an extra 100 therapists, the provision of new respite houses, and the extension of the medical card to 40,000 children with disabilities as an automatic right.

He said they are examples of "meaningful action." He said there's more to be do and "we'll get it done".

Mr Martin said parents are "really anxious and scared" and warned Mr Varadkar: "Don't try and bat this away and say we all have individual cases that have to be resolved".

He claimed: "you seem to be unaware of the systemic crisis in this area".

Mr Varadkar insisted he's very aware of the issues, both for individuals and more broadly.

He listed other measures that have been brought in, including saying that there are 2,200 fewer people with disabilities living in institutions who are now in homes in the community.

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