Tuesday, 2 February 2016
Disability Services Funding
I want to highlight the example of a grandmother I met recently. There are many issues with addiction in the Dublin Central constituency. This grandmother, like so many others, took on the care of five grandchildren because their mother was an addict. They are all adults now but the youngest is 18, has Down’s syndrome and is autistic. The grandmother is waiting to go into hospital for various operations but she has the worry of what will happen to her 18 year old grandchild. While St. Michael's House provides a fantastic service, it cannot give her any guarantees. This young lad, let us call him John, loves St. Michael's House. He is challenged and stimulated there, his friends are there and he is really well looked after. He is 18 but will be out next summer, like so many others who are 18 years of age. Will the Minister of State guarantee that out of this funding a follow-up service will be provided? Young people with Down’s syndrome, autism and so forth need access to some form of service when they reach 18 years of age. I have met others in similar circumstances involved in activities which are not stimulating them and from which they are not getting any benefit. We owe them so much. They can also give so much as well. We know people with intellectual disabilities who are great members of society and who give so much. I am seeking a guarantee for those with the conditions to which I refer who are over 18 years of age in order that they and their families will not be subjected to the type of stress they have experienced up to now.