A €500,000 house bought and adapted by Ard Aoibhinn to give respite breaks to the families of people with intellectural disabilities, has been lying empty in Wexford for over two years because the HSE hasn't allocated funding to staff it.
The four-bedroom bungalow in Redshire Road, Murrintown was bought in 2015 and adapted and converted for disability living at a total cost of just under half a million Euro which was met by the people of Wexford through generous fundraising events and donations.
Designed as a respite house for young adults with intellectual disabilities, the premises has never been used. 'We don't have the money to open and staff it,' said Ard Aoibhinn director Gerry Heaney.
The charity has applied for finance on a number of occasions but has been informed by the HSE that it doesn't have the necessary funding.
'We could have four people in there every weekend. There are families and full-time carers who need respite but we can't offer it to them,' said Gerry.
Ard Aoibhinn provides respite care for children with intellectual disabilities and special needs in the Wexford area but in line with HIQA guidelines, that service ceases when young people reach 18 years.
According to the director, Ard Aoibhinn made the HSE aware of the fact that it had a large number of clients hitting 18 and it bought the house in order to offer vital respite to them and their families.
Mr. Heaney said the estimated cost of running the respite house for a year is in the region of €750,000, money that he considers very worthwhile given the positive impact of respite care on intellectually disabled people and their families and on their ability to cope.
'If you provide respite to families they are able to cope. The person being cared for gets a break and the carer gets a break. In the long term, it keeps it stable. Otherwise families fall into crisis and seek full-time respite which costs a lot more and is not readily available anyway,' he said.
Meanwhile, Wexford families struggling to care for loved ones with special needs have to soldier on without a break while a residence which could offer them help, lies unused and unoccupied.