Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Eamon Scanlon says the Government is failing in its commitment to support people with disabilities by overseeing diminishing support services. Deputy Scanlon raised the issue with the Taoiseach in the Dáil this week.
He explained, “Respite services are an essential element of our health and disability sector. They provide a much needed reprieve for family carers, however over the past 6 years and successive Fine Gael led Governments, these vital services have been eroded. Out of hours services are practically non-existent and families across the North West are suffering.
“The Programme for Government committed to “improve services and increase supports for people with disabilities” by “aiding the provision of care, together with more accessible training and respite care, to facilitate full support”. One year on from this agreement and there has been no notable improvement in services. In fact, the situation has deteriorated.
“Last weekend I was contacted by families in Sligo, who were forced to travel to Carrickmacross in south County Monaghan for respite services. That’s a 320km round trip. The stress caused by having to make this considerable journey is deeply unfair, especially given the fact that a state of the art respite centre was only built six years ago to cater for families in the North West region. This facility is not even being used as a respite unit – I understand that it is now a decongregation setting. This is a truly dreadful situation and is in stark contrast with the promises made by this Government.
“The Health Minister cannot continue to ignore the strain that respite services are under. Families in Sligo, Donegal and Leitrim are already under enormous stress and these respite services are extremely important. I am calling on Ministers Harris and McGrath to address this issue as a matter of urgency so that families are not having to cross the country to access what should be local services”.