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United approach needed to address respite and residential challenges for people with disabilities – Adams

21 April, 2017 - by Gerry Adams

Louth Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams, along with Deputies Fergus O’Dowd and Declan Breathnach, has met with the Manager of St John of God’s, St Mary’s, Drumcar and the HSE Head of Social Care for CHO8.

The meeting, which took place on Friday 14th April in Drumcar, gave Oireachtas members the opportunity to discuss the persistent deficiencies in respite care provision and residential accommodation issues for people with intellectual disabilities in Louth.

The Sinn Féin President said:

“I have spoken to many constituents recently who are carers for their relatives with intellectual disabilities.

“They all raise similar issues with me.

“The lack of regular and appropriately lengthy respite and, in some cases, no respite provision.

“The absence of future residential accommodation for adults with intellectual disabilities who are currently being cared for at home.

“Flaws in the blanket application of the policy of decongregation, particularly for those who have lived practically all their lives in St Mary’s Drumcar and who have high support needs.

“All of the above, combined with the fact that there are no dedicated emergency respite beds in the county of Louth, are pointing towards a worsening crisis for people with disabilities.

“Indeed the National Intellectual Disability Database Audit 2015 (published Sept 2016) predicted that for the years 2016-2020 2,167 new full-time residential placements and 2,133 new residential support services would be needed.

“I had received assurances from Disabilities Minister Finian McGrath in the summer of 2016, following the complete cancellation of respite in Drumcar, that respite would be a priority for Budget 2017.  

“Yet, a response to my parliamentary question states that ‘Disability Services for Co Louth has not been made aware of any additional funding allocation for 2017 for respite services in Co Louth’.  

“This is an incredibly frustrating situation for these families.  They are not being treated properly by this Government.

“Those in attendance at this meeting have decided to request a meeting for all Louth Oireachtas members with Finian McGrath to raise concerns in person with him.

“This Government must be held to account for the decisions it makes.”

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