Fianna Fáil Senator Robbie Gallagher has called on the Minister for Health to instruct his Department to find a long-term fix for respite services in Cootehill, County Cavan, and St. Davnet’s complex in County Monaghan. Across both Monaghan and Cavan waiting lists are increasing with no sign of a fix from government.

Senator Gallagher said “Respite services must be re-established with immediate effect. This is causing great hardship to the many families in counties Cavan and Monaghan who depend greatly on this service.

“Having met with families they are dismayed that the Department have not acted faster to get a permanent solution for the Annalee View facility. There is shock that the latest estimates from the Minister say there is another six-month delay before refurbishments take place.

“There is a wider issue at play here too. Due to closure of facilities the waiting lists have increased in our area. Family carers, adults and siblings depend greatly on and look forward to the short break they get in respite facilities. Unfortunately, they have not been able to get a break for some time. One family member told me that they had been waiting for two and a half years to get into the system. Given the high care needs of some of the individuals in question, it is disappointing to learn that it takes so long for them to enter the system.

“I understand a number of buildings are lying idle on the St. Davnet’s complex in Monaghan town. The option of using these buildings to provide a temporary or even a more long-term solution to the immediate problem should be explored. These hardworking, decent people in the Cavan and Monaghan area who provide much love, care and attention on a 24-7 basis deserve much better.

“There is a long-term solution to this matter and I am urging the Minister to prioritise this out of respect and care for the families who have been let down by this Government to date,” concluded Senator Gallagher.