Fianna Fáil’s Disability Spokesperson, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony TD has said that any attempts by the HSE to get around their responsibilities under the 2005 Disability Act to provide Assessments of Needs within statutory timelines will be vigorously opposed by her party.

Deputy Murphy O’Mahony was commenting after it emerged that the HSE were seeking to change the current rules to allow them avoid providing a diagnostic assessment, and instead simply make recommendations regarding possible services, which are themselves subject to resources.

“This flies in the face of the legislation, and I would argue, the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD), and will not be tolerated by me or my party.

“I’m really disappointed that Minister McGrath would sign off on these changes. It goes against his past commitment to people with disabilities.

“Unfortunately, it’s an acceptance by the HSE and the Government that they are failing people, mainly children, with disabilities.

“Waiting times for Assessments of Needs have rocketed in recent years, and too many children have to wait longer than the statutory three months for an assessment to even begin.

“This is an attempt by the Government to avoid providing services and supports to people with disabilities – services that they are entitled to under the Act and the UNCRPD.

“Instead of finding dubious work arounds to the legislation, the HSE and Minister McGrath should focus on securing the resources and staff needed to both undertake the assessments and provide the services people with disabilities need,” concluded Murphy O’Mahony.