Wednesday, 6 November 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I was a part of the all-party working group on dementia that worked across both Houses to improve the resources given to families suffering because a loved one suffers with dementia. We heard this morning about the potential closure of St. Joseph's, Shankill. It has 60 live-in, dedicated units for dementia. It is the largest in the country. There are 120 places per week for day care services which make a real impact for 120 families, week in and week out. We now discover St. Joseph's has had no increase in funding since 2012 and faces closure. This is totally unacceptable. All political parties have been fighting for resources for families with a loved one suffering from dementia only to hear this news about St. Joseph's this morning.
This is not an isolated case. Last week, we heard about the impending closure of an important resource in Roscommon that provided respite for the Irish Wheelchair Association, people with Parkinson's disease and other sufferers. It is a dedicated, purpose-built respite home in the midlands to ensure families can get respite. I talked to one family member who said it is absolutely fabulous to bring her loved one for a break to the centre, stay with him, and have all the resources available for the need of his disability and as a wheelchair user. That centre now faces closure. Something is going seriously wrong.
I am proposing an amendment to the Order of Business whereby either the Minister for Health, Deputy Harris, or the Minister of State with responsibility for disabilities, Deputy Finian McGrath, attends the House today to explain to us exactly what is happening and give some reassurance to the 180 families in the Dún Laoghaire, Shankill and south County Dublin area that this important support will not be taken away from them at the end of the year. They cannot wait for clarity on this issue, it needs to come now. They suffer, day in and day out, trying to take care of their loved ones. They have now received notification that this resource is going to be withdrawn without any explanation of what support will be put there in replacement. I am formally proposing an amendment to the Order of Business whereby either the Minister for Health, Deputy Harris, or the Minister of State with responsibility for disabilities, Deputy Finian McGrath, attends the House today to give some reassurance that these important resources will be maintained in the future.