Government spends €700,000 fighting families of children with disabilities - Mark Ward TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health Mark Ward TD has called the government’s failure to meet its statutory obligations in providing Assessment of Needs to children a systemic abuse.
Teachta Ward challenged the Tánaiste in the Dáil today on the €700,000 of taxpayers' money spent to defend the state against families whose children have not had Assessment of Needs provided to them.
There are currently over 5000 children on waiting lists for Assessment of Needs.
Teachta Ward said:
“In response to a parliamentary question I raised, I am livid to see that the state has spent €700,000 to defend the state against families whose children have not received an Assessment of Needs.
“The Disability Act 2005 outlines the statutory timelines under which Assessment of Needs must be completed. In effect, the assessment must be completed within six months of the application date with a further month to issue the report and service statement where appropriate.
“There have been 115 applications by parents to the Circuit Court for enforcement orders under 2005 Disability Act.
“The State Claims Agency has reported to the HSE that it has received 30 claims in relation to this Assessment of Needs matter.
“To date, there have been no payments made to these families.
“While no payments have been made to families, the state has paid solicitors and counsel over €700,000 to defend the state against these families - €700,000 to defend the indefensible.
"That is €700,000 that could have been spent on Assessment of Needs, €700,000 that could have been spent to decrease the time that over 5000 children are waiting on these assessments.
“I take no comfort from the Tánaiste agreeing with me during a debate today that the money should be spent on the treatment of children.
“Talk is cheap but legal cost are not. These families need immediate action so their children can achieve their developmental needs.
“I put it to the Tánaiste that this failure is systemic abuse of children as the state is failing in its duty to help them reach their developmental milestones."