Senator David Cullinane calls for increased investment in disability services
Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has called for increased investment in disability services in the upcoming budget and called for the budget to be equality proofed. He said people with disabilities are not getting the supports that they need and disability services are reeling from years of cuts.
Senator Cullinane was speaking at a public meeting in Waterford on supporting people with disabilities which was addressed by representatives from the Disability Federation of Ireland, Inclusion Ireland and the Waterford Disability Network.
Speaking after the meeting Senator Cullinane said:
"Eight years of austerity and cuts has taken its toll on people with disabilities and their families. Cuts to supports for carers, payments to people with disabilities, advocate groups and health and education spending has resulted in more poverty and less services.
"Home help hours have been cut. Supports and funding for Personal Assistants cut. Funding for Special Needs Assistants cut. The respite care grant was cut. The motorised transport scheme was abolished. We have a dire shortage of speech, language and occupational therapists and early intervention supports for children with complex needs are insufficient.
"In a recovering economy it is vital that those in need the most. The upcoming budget provides an opportunity to support children and adults with disabilities. I am calling on the Government to restore the cut to the respite care grant, increase funding to disability services and increase capacity by hiring more therapists in the public system. They should also ensure that all people with disabilities should receive the medical card on health need and need alone.
"As we approach what many are describing as an 'election budget' let's hope that those who need it most are looked after and supported. I also want to lend my support to a campaign for a new purpose built early intervention centre in Waterford to properly support children with complex needs."