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Health cuts are hitting services for disabled people – Ó Caoláin

19 June, 2008

Commenting on cuts in disability services, Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said:

"The Minister for Health & Children should immediately call a halt to the cuts being imposed by the Health Service Executive which are adversely affecting the services provided to people with disabilities. These include St. Michael's House which cares for over 1,500 adults and children in Dublin and which is not now able to provide services to parents of newly-born children with Down's Syndrome. The organisation has expressed concern that other services are under threat and waiting lists for services will worsen.

"Other disability organisations, such as Inclusion Ireland, report that parents of school-leavers with intellectual disability are unsure if their children will have places to go to next September. It is almost impossible to gain access to respite care and therapy services have also been hit by cutbacks.

"People with disabilities, their families and support organisations are facing great uncertainty over future funding for vital services. The fear is that, as has happened in the past, when the Dáil goes into summer recess and the spotlight and political pressure is removed from the Government, then more cuts will be imposed. This must be resisted.

"We predicted that if disability legislation was not rights-based then services for people with disabilities would be adversely affected by Government's so-called 'savings'. This has now come to pass and it emphasises the need for rights-based disability legislation to ensure that basic services for people with disabilities are guaranteed." ENDS

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