Fianna Fáil candidate in Dublin South, Senator Mary White, has demanded an explanation for the lack of basic supports available to children with special needs in Dublin.
According to figures obtained by Fianna Fáil, there are NO Early Intervention Teams in Dublin to provide key assessments and supports for children with special needs. The HSE has been forced to confirm to Fianna Fáil that there are no EI Teams in Dublin South, Dublin South West, Dublin South Central, Dublin South East and Dublin North.
Senator White has described it as a ‘gaping hole in our frontline health services’.
“Children with special needs across Dublin are being failed miserably by this Government. Despite promises to prioritise mental health services, children living in Dublin who need specific supports have no access to Early Intervention Teams or even to school age disability services in their own area. It’s an impossible situation for parents. Many families are forced to travel outside Dublin for assessment and support for their child, while others have no option but to seek expensive private treatment,” said Senator White.
“According to the HSE figures we have just received, there are at least 365 children with complex needs in south Dublin alone who are on waiting lists for early intervention supports. There are a further 143 in north Dublin. These are children with complex needs who are waiting to see psychologists, speech therapists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and social workers. They cannot afford to wait years for the help that they need right now.
“It makes a mockery of the concept of ‘early intervention’ to force a child with special needs to wait for years for even a basic assessment of their needs. The longer these children are forced to wait, the harder it becomes to tackle their issues and give them the skills that they need to live happy and successful lives at home and in school.
“There is a massive regional imbalance in the spread of Early Intervention Teams, with Dublin and south Dublin in particular being left far behind. My colleagues and I have been highlighting this problem for some time now and the Government is still burying its head in the sand. These children need action, not empty promises that will take years to implement.
“I am calling on Minister Kathleen Lynch to reassess her approach and stand up for the disability sector. Instead of diverting money away from essential therapies and services, funds should be ring fenced to ensure that children with special needs across Dublin are not neglected by the system for a minute longer,” said Senator White.