Young citizens with disabilities need security not uncertainty - Adams
Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has again called on the Government to “ensure that the future of the Walk Peer programme is secured.”
Teachta Adams welcomed WALK Peer Co ordinator Des Henry and Louth Peer Mentor Andrea Hermes, two young participants Jessica and Niamh , their parents Denise and Sheelagh and Louth employer Thomas Gavan to Leinster House last week, where they made a comprehensive and emotive presentation to Oireachtas members
Members heard powerful testimony from the parents of Jessica and Niamh outlining how WALK Peer has changed their daughters lives .
The Louth TD added;
“While WALK Peer welcomed the recent offer of 6 months funding, Jessica and her mentor Andrea pointed out that this means another 6 months of uncertainty, another 6 months of anxiety, and the prospect that the programme will not be sustained beyond that.
The government’s inaction on the longer term future of programmes like WALK Peer is taking a toll on young citizens like Jessica and Niamh”.
Teachta Adams re iterated calls he has made in the Dáil , to ensure WALK Peers work can continue . He noted;
“This programme must be part of the Comprehensive Employment Strategy for people with Disabilities( CES). The Departments were tasked with delivering CES . They must now provide funding for WALK Peer’s proposed five year model and work collectively for provision of supports for this group of young citizens with a disability”.
NOTE TO EDITOR.
WALK Peer was initially chosen as one of 14 disability activation projects ( DACT)that were jointly funded by the Department of Social Protection and the European Social Fund. The programme began in 2012 and ended last summer. WALK Peer have continued their work with the young people engaged in the programme , and are proposing a five year costed programme open to rolling evaluation by the government .