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McGill sees glimmer of hope on Learning Disability Payments

30 September, 2008


Sinn Féin West Tyrone MLA Claire McGill says that she believes that a commitment from Health Minister Michael McGimpsey that he will meet with the Chief Executive of Western Health Trust to discuss the decision by the body to end the 'basic financial reward scheme of around £2 per week for people with learning disabilities in the Western Board Area provides a glimmer of hope that some kind of arrangement can still be found to retain this weekly payment.

Ms McGill said:

"The Western Trust hopes to save in the region of £75,000 per annum through this move. However, few people would disagree that this amount is small change when judged against the damage it will do to the sense of self-esteem and independence that people with learning disabilities gain from receiving a token wage packet at the end of each week.

"I submitted an urgent question about the issue to Health Minister Michael McGimpsey asking him to assess the impact this would have on people with learning disabilities. While he did not undertake to reverse the decision at this point, I nonetheless believe that his commitment to meet with the Chief Executive of the Western Trust in the near future to discuss the issue provides a glimmer of hope that some kind of arrangement can sill be found to retain this weekly payment." ENDS

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