“It is beyond wrong that there has been a near 10% decline in the number of centre-based respite nights over the first six months of 2017,” said the Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Disability, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony.
“I don’t, for one second, believe that there has been a reduction in demand for this service. I, along with my colleagues, am inundated with requests for assistance from frustrated and struggling families.
Between January and June 2017, there were 81,826 respite nights compared to 90,891 in the first six months of 2016.
“This reduction needs an explanation from the Minister for Disability, Finian McGrath. Of course, a certain proportion must be kept available for emergencies, but to have such a drop in usage in just 12 months is inexcusable.
“Families of people with disabilities rely on respite support to give them a chance to recharge their batteries, and in many cases the person living with the disability needs their own independent time away from their care givers.
“As my Party Leader, Micheál Martin TD said yesterday in the Dáil, ‘The story for people with disabilities continues to get worse.’
“These figures underline the major gaps in the provision of services to people with disabilities and their families.
“Ministers can list out whatever successes they feel are important, but until the lives of people with disabilities are improved through the adequate provision of basic services such as respite care, then this Government will continue to fail its citizens,” concluded Murphy O’Mahony.