Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Niamh Smyth says people trying to access disability respite services in the border region are being left behind and has called on Minister Finian McGrath to urgently address the disparity.

New information released to Fianna Fáil clearly exposes a postcode lottery, with the CHO1 region (Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim) not receiving a single additional emergency place in the first nine months of 2018.

Deputy Smyth explained, “There were 364 emergency places provided across the country up until the end of September last year.  However, not one of them was allocated in the border region.  Contrast this with CHO 3 (Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary), which despite having a smaller population, received 34 of the places.

“The border counties also came bottom of the list for overnight respite for people with disabilities, with 6,982 provided in the first nine months of 2018. CHO 3 had 10,765 in the same period. Just 384 people with a disability were in receipt of respite services in CHO 1 during this time.

“This is an issue that I have been highlighting for some time.   There is barely a week that goes by that I am not contacted by a family in need of respite services.  The figures released by the HSE to my party’s Disability Spokesperson Margaret Murphy O’Mahony merely confirm what we already know.

“Only last week I raised the long waiting lists for Drumlin House and the problems that families are facing to secure places for people who have left the Holy Family School.

“I am seriously concerned about the situation across Cavan and Monaghan.  The HSE service plan for 2019 proposes to reduce the number of day respite services.  Where will that leave already under-resourced services?

“Progress is incredibly slow and it’s clear that the HSE is not meeting demand. It looks as if 2019 will be another challenging year for disability respite services, and the people and families who desperately rely on them,” concluded Deputy Smyth.