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Sinn Féin calls for Autism empowerment strategy to mark World Autism Awareness Day

31 March, 2019 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, Kathleen Funchion TD

Sinn Féin will use their private members time on this coming Tuesday 2nd April which is World Autism Awareness Day to bring forward a Dáil motion calling for the development of an Autism Empowerment Strategy in Ireland.

It is a joint initiative between Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Disabilities Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin and Deputy Kathleen Funchion, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Education, and follows months of engagement with advocacy groups, families and persons with Autism.

Speaking on this initiative, Deputy Ó Caoláin said;

“The motion that we will bring forward next week sets out a clear framework towards finally delivering an Autism Empowerment Strategy for Ireland.

“Previous attempts have been made to legislate for an autism Bill, but both have failed with the most recent one proposed by Fine Gael stuck in the legislative process.

“We believe that these previous efforts were too heavily concentrated on a medical approach only to treating Autism with little awareness of the need for a social approach.

“We are now calling for the setting up of an all-party Oireachtas committee which will be mandated with producing an Autism Empowerment Strategy within 6 months.

“We will be writing to the Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl on Tuesday seeking his support for the establishment of this committee.”

Deputy Funchion said;

“The provision of supports and services to persons with Autism is currently not fit for purpose.

“On a weekly basis, I am meeting constituents who are in crisis seeking supports and access to services. This is replicated all over the country.

“Whether it’s seeking an assessment of need, seeking access to therapies, securing an autism spectrum condition class place in school, seeking additional education tuition and many other issues, the current provision of care is simply not fit for purpose.

“We believe that the best chance we have of delivering a proper standard of care and support for persons with Autism is through the passing of our motion in the Dáil on Tuesday night and setting in place the asks that are contained in it.

“We are calling on all parties and independents to give their support to this initiative and let us all deliver appropriate and better services to all persons with autism across the country.

“This would be a fit and proper way to mark World Autism Awareness Day.” 

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