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'They see it as a time to line their pockets and climb career ladder'

WHEN Alicia and Karel Liebenberg were told their three-month premature baby had severe cerebral palsy, their world fell apart.

Finn, their little boy, went straight into the early intervention section of the CRC in Clontarf when he was just 10 weeks old.

When the scandal broke before Christmas, Alicia felt it like a "slap in the face".

"I was so angry," she said. "I felt their pensions were being bankrolled by people's misfortunes.

"These people think the CRC is an opportunity to line their own pockets and climb a career ladder."

The only consolation was that the board was far removed from the work being done on the ground.

"Their removal did not affect the children or the services,"Alicia said.

The mother was able to pinpoint where the money should have gone – on an outdoor play facility as the indoor one was closed and had a 'danger' sign up.

There is also a shortage of respite for struggling parents, with just two part-time and two full-time carers working for the CRC.


Alicia considers herself "very lucky" to get four hours a week, during which she gets to spend time with her youngest, Max (2).

"When you have a child with special needs, the rest of your children do suffer," she said, adding that most of the parents were too busy with their children to keep worrying about what has happened at the CRC.

Alicia closed by saying that having parents on the next CRC board would be a step in the right direction.

This morning a mother of a baby who uses the CRC broke down in tears as she spoke about her disgust at former CRC boss Paul Kiely.

Maria Nolan, mum to 17-month-old toddler Oisin, cried on RTE's Morning Ireland programme as she begged people to keep giving to the CRC as her son and others depend upon it.

Ms Nolan said she felt "disgusted and saddened but not just for yourself and your child, you feel afraid for staff at the CRC. They're so amazing".

Maria said Oisin visits the CRC four times a week for physiotherapy and occupational therapy to help him eat, drink and swallow.

"Do give. Just think of my son. Children like Oisin and adults like Oisin will be like this for the rest of their lives and will always need the CRC," she said.