Tuesday, 5 February 2019
Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters
Services for People with Disabilities
I acknowledge the Minister of State's long campaign for families with loved ones with disabilities and for persons with disabilities. He has personal knowledge of being a carer so he will understand more than most just how frustrating the situation has been. I will again tell the story of iCare, which I know so well because it is based in my home town of Buncrana. It has been in operation for 18 years and has become bigger and bigger in terms of the services it delivers. Its work is groundbreaking in terms of autism support services. It works with the local school, Scoil Íosagáin, in Buncrana. iCare is a template for organisations across the State but, incredibly, it has achieved that with its own resources and those involved are weary. The HSE will announce its decision soon. I urge the Minister of State to ensure that clarity is provided as soon as possible on the funding for 2019, along with the Bluestack Special Needs Foundation. There is full, cross-party support in Donegal for the services provided by the two organisations. We desperately want them to have State funding that will allow them to continue their important work. I urge the Minister of State to continue to monitor the position and to ensure that funding is provided for this year. I thank the Minister of State for attending.