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Long waiting list for child therapies forcing families into food poverty - Mark Ward TD

3 February, 2022 - by Mark Ward TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health Mark Ward TD has raised concerns following reports that a family are accessing a local foodbank because they had to avail of private life-changing therapies for their children, due to public waiting lists being so long.

Teachta Ward has called for an immediate response from Government on this following a recent hearing at the Children’s Committee on child poverty.

Teachta Ward said:

“The Clondalkin Cares Foodbank from my own area of Dublin Mid-West do fantastic work, and in the past two years, they have engaged with over 3,000 people - half of whom were aged under 18.

"They currently support around 500 people on a regular basis with food supplies.

“There are many reasons why families are accessing food supports in my area, including the increase in the cost of living and the changes in income since the pandemic.

“We heard from Karin Jonsson, who runs the Clondalkin Cares foodbank, at a recent Children’s Committee meeting on child poverty that parents are accessing the local foodbank because they've had to pay for private life changing therapies for their children, due to public waiting lists being so long.

“Some 17% of people cite that the reason that they have to access the foodbank to feed their families is  increased health costs, including having to pay for private for assessment of needs, speech and language therapy and psychology, as the waiting lists are endless.

“At present there are over 71,000 children on public waiting lists for life changing treatments, such as occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, dietetics and psychology . Some 19,000 children are waiting over a year on for an appointment.

“Successive Governments have failed these children and their families. It is a very damming inditement of us a society when parents are forced to decide between feeding their families or accessing life changing treatment for their children.

“Children have a right to be given every chance to reach their full potential and parents should not have to make a choice between feeding their family and health care for their children."

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