Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North West Michael Moynihan has described as “absolutely disgraceful” the lack of respite hours available for people in the county.

He raised the matter directly with the Taoiseach in the Dáil this week.

Deputy Moynihan said, “People living in north Cork are finding it harder and harder to access respite services for their loved ones. It’s an issue that comes up time and again in my constituency office. Families with loved ones with intellectual disabilities are only being offered a number of days of respite a year. This is completely unacceptable.

“I have been dealing with a number of cases where respite has been granted for either a weekend or two or three days during a week, and when the family applied for additional respite for later in the year they have been told by the service providers that they have used up their allocation and no further hours will be made available to them for the rest of the year. This beggar’s belief. These families have literally had three days respite for all of 2019.

“We are facing a massive crisis and nobody appears to be taking the matter seriously. Elderly parents are trying to look after loved ones, particularly children, as best they can and are crying out for respite care, but the service is simply not available. Long term carers depend greatly on and look forward to the short break they get when their loved one is in respite care, however, they are now being told that they will not get any further respite this year – and it’s only April.

“The current situation cannot continue. I am calling on Ministers Harris, McGrath and Daly to properly examine the situation in north Cork and ensure that a plan is put in place to deliver services to the people who need them”, concluded Deputy Moynihan.