Sinn Féin leader and Louth TD Gerry Adams has criticised the government’s decision to oppose the Sinn Féin private members motion on cochlear implants for profoundly deaf children in the Dáil today.
The Louth TD has challenged the Minister for Health to “do the right thing by the hundreds of deaf children and include provision for bilateral cochlear implants in the HSE estimates for 2014.”
Teachta Adams said:
“Today’s decision by the government to oppose the Sinn Féin private members motion on cochlear implants for profoundly deaf children in the Dáil is deeply disappointing.
“I cannot help but compare the government’s stinginess on providing funding for implants to help deaf children with their generosity with public monies when it comes to funding the bankers and financial elites.
“The government’s alternative motion is a fudge which provides no certainty for families of deaf children that this government will move positively on this matter.
“Every TD and Seanadóir I have spoken to on this issue or who has been lobbied by the parents Happy New Ear campaign says they believe the children should have bilateral cochlear implants. The campaign is non-party political – indeed it is an issue that is above party politics.
“These children cannot hear because they are profoundly deaf. The government does not have that disability.
“The business plan from Beaumont hospital on the provision of bilateral cochlear implants has been with the HSE and Department of Health for some time now awaiting clearance.
“The government’s response today provides for no action plan to implement a bilateral cochlear implant programme.
“There is no commitment to include this programme in the 2014 HSE estimates process.
“There is no time-frame for implementation of the HSE/Beaumont business plan.
“The Government needs to act now. The children and their parents are in a race against time to ensure that the children have the operation before they are too old for it to be effective.
“The reality is that unless these implants are connected in the early years of a child’s life that by the age of seven or eight the operation will be ineffective as the nerves will have died off.
“After that children born and raised in silence may never speak; something which will adversely impact on the rest of their lives.
“These young citizens have already faced a great deal of adversity in their short lives. They deserve the same rights and opportunities as every other child and every other citizen in this state.
“They have the right to hear; the right to be heard and to have a voice. The government has the duty and responsibility to deliver for these children.”