Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Kildare North Cllr Frank O’Rourke says the Minster for Health Leo Varadkar needs to intervene to ensure recent cutbacks to support schemes for children with disabilities are reversed.
Cllr O’Rourke made the comments after it was revealed that charities providing support for children with Down syndrome are facing cuts of up to 60% in Government funding.
“In recent weeks I have been contacted by concerned parents who have highlighted that charities operating the Early Intervention Home Teacher Programme here in Kildare are facing significant cutbacks. This programme is in place to support children with Down syndrome in accessing education,” said Cllr O’Rourke.
“This programme is vital as it offers a suitable pre-school service for Down syndrome children. It prepares them for the challenges they will face in primary school as a home teacher comes fortnightly for a one and a half hour session. It’s great for giving these children a sense of confidence before beginning primary school.
“These charities are being forced to implement these cutbacks as the HSE is starving them of the funding they need to keep the programme operating at full capacity. Parents of children with Down syndrome are very worried that the cutback could result in the eventual loss of the programme. That would be disastrous.
“Minister Varadkar needs to step in and ensure the HSE adequately funds these support programmes. It’s unacceptable that his Government is prioritising tax cuts for the wealthy while cutting supports for the most vulnerable in our society,” said Cllr O’Rourke.