Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo Dara Calleary has expressed his outrage after it emerged that children with disabilities are facing major delays in their speech and language therapy because of a shortage of therapists.

The HSE has written to parents informing them that 50% of speech and language therapists working in disability services are on maternity leave.

Deputy Calleary said, “This is a completely unacceptable situation and I am at odds to understand how the HSE could not plan for cover and ensure that the required number of speech and language therapists were available.  These are some of the most vulnerable children in the county, and they are being denied an essential service.  It borders on unbelievable that HSE management could not make plans for what should be a simple HR issue.

“I have been contacted by parents who are distraught.  Children who are defined as “high priority” have been offered a “limited service” while others have been completely abandoned, having been told that they will only be seen for therapy “if there is capacity”.

“I am truly shocked by the lack of planning by the HSE.  As a result of this mismanagement, vulnerable children with disabilities are being left without an essential service.  Management must work to resolve this staffing issue as a matter of priority and I will be raising these cases with the Minister to ensure that it is urgently addressed”.