Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Marc Mac Sharry has slammed the government for excluding young people with disabilities in the North West from its Ability reactivation programme. The details of funding approvals were announced last week, but not one project in Donegal, Sligo or Leitrim made the list.
Deputy Mac Sharry, “This is more of the same from this Dublin centric government which appears to be completely focussed on approving funding to projects based in the capital to the detriment of the regions. The newly launched Ability programme is a pre-activation scheme aimed at helping young people with disabilities transition from school to further education and then on to employment. This is an extremely worthwhile programme, but unfortunately not one teenager or young adult will be able to avail of it here in the North West.
“A number of projects in Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim submitted applications to this scheme but not one was chosen. This speaks volumes about the government’s commitment to children with disabilities in the North West. Unfortunately for these kids and their families disappointment and frustration are common emotions, especially when it comes to allocation of resources.
“Thirteen out of the 27 projects which were approved for funding under this initiative were in Dublin. There were others in Cork, Limerick and Galway. The only project approved north of the Dublin-Galway line was in Roscommon.
“The fact that the government has completely ignored the North West yet again, while unsurprising, is completely unacceptable. Children with disabilities living in this region should be afforded the same opportunities as those living in Dublin. I am calling on the Health Minister and the Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Disability to address this issue as a matter of urgency and ensure that projects in the North West are included in the Ability programme”.