Budget 2020 ‘must address significant issues in the Disability Sector’ – Ó Caoláin
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Disability Rights and Older People Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said that the Disability Sector will face a funding and operational crisis from both a capital and current expenditure point of view unless there will be significant address of its under-resourcing in Budget 2020.
Reacting to media reports that over 125 care centres and nursing homes are at risk of closure due to unsuitable premises, Teachta Ó Caoláin said;
“I am deeply concerned for the disability community, their carers, and the entire sector in advance of Budget 2020.
“Hazard warnings have been flagged with Minister for Health Simon Harris for some time now regarding the problems presenting within the Disability Sector but these warnings seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
“The four disability umbrella organisations have all reported funding difficulties in past months with annual balance sheet deficits being carried forward leaving them in very vulnerable financial circumstances. Rehab Care were very recently on the verge of closure.
“There are extensive waiting lists for home help hours, assessments of need, supported school places and respite care, along with many other areas of need.
“There are no coherent plans to address any of these crises facing the disability sector. We seem to be staring down the barrel of disaster.
“The loss of these 125 care centres, providing care to 1500 people, would represent a real disaster for so many.
“These service users are our family members, our friends and our neighbours.
“All of this of course against a massive cost overrun at the National Children’s Hospital which has without doubt meant that we are still waiting for the publication of the HSE Capital Plan for 2019 which is now 9 months after the publication of Budget 2019 by this Fine Gael led Government.
“We are in an absolutely unprecedented situation and neither Minister Harris nor his Government colleagues seem to recognise the gravity of where we now are.
“We need urgent Government action to protect the most vulnerable members of our society.”