Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Disability, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony has slammed the HSE and the Government for allowing the progress that has been made in disability and mental health services in recent years to be rowed back.

Deputy Murphy O’Mahony made the comments after receiving an update from Barnardo’s on the provision of services and assessments to children with disabilities in the Cork area.

“Across a wide spectrum of services, there are severe waiting lists. In Speech and Therapy, there are 10,201 children and young adults waiting for an initial assessment. There’s a further 10,818 children waiting for treatment.

“In the area of mental health, 2,520 children and young people are waiting to be seen and assessed. Shockingly there are over 100 children waiting longer than 12 months for an assessment, yet in the neighbouring area of Clare, Limerick and Tipperary, there is no one waiting this length of time.

“Children with disabilities in the Cork area are feeling the brunt of this government’s poor record of delivery. 44% of all those children nationally waiting longer than three months for their statutory Assessment of Need are from Cork. Why is it acceptable for 1732 to be left waiting longer than three months?

“This delays their access to treatment, and the provision of SNAs in school, and must be addressed.

“For the past number of years, we have seen continuing increases in waiting lists across the country, but Cork is fairing worse than most. Ministers Harris and McGrath must put in place a focused, and targeted, plan to address the challenge in Cork.

“It’s simply not fair on them or their families that they must wait for basic assessments, let alone treatments.

“The fundamental issue here is that the Government has not ratified the UN Declaration on the Rights of People with Disabilities. Until this happens, we will continue to see the Government pay lip service to the rights of people, and in particular children, with disabilities,” concluded Murphy O’Mahony.