Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has called for additional respite hours for persons with a disability to cope with the current demand.  He criticised the current underfunding of these essential services, which is leading to cancellations for service users.

Deputy Smyth explained, “It’s very difficult to quantify the value of respite services to the people who use them.  The respect that is afforded to families by the excellent staff at the three centres across Cavan and Monaghan is unparalleled and I know from speaking to the many families who use these services, how much that means to them.

“Many parents avail of respite when they themselves have medical appointments or procedures scheduled.  That is why the cancellation of respite services is such a cause of anxiety for them.  I have been liaising with one family who had booked their adult child who has a disability in for respite as one of the parents had been scheduled for a procedure in hospital.  The respite was cancelled because there were not enough staff available.  This created a huge problem and placed the family in a very precarious situation.

“The real issue is that respite services across Cavan and Monaghan are already operating at full capacity and there is no additional provision for managing a crisis.  Unfortunately, it is the very families that are reliant on respite that are suffering.

“The service is chronically underfunded.  Sporadic cancellations are unavoidable, however cancellations are now becoming a regular feature of the service and it has become a source of real anxiety and stress for the families that need these services the most.  These are hard-working, decent people, who love and care for their family members, and who ask for very little.

“I am urging the Health Minister, the Minister with responsibility for Disability and the Minister for Mental Health & Older People to examine the funding for respite services so that they can be expanded to cope with the current demand levels so that these families can access the services they so badly need”, concluded Deputy Brendan Smith.