Seanad debates

Friday, 16 October 2020

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

 

10:30 am

Photo of Seán KyneSeán Kyne (Fine Gael)

Gabhaim buíochas leis an gCathaoirleach. I raise the issue of services for people with disabilities and their families. Budget 2021 builds on the strong work of the previous Government and the former Minister, Finian McGrath, in this area. I commend the Government for securing additional resources and funding for disability services in this budget. The additional €100 million is much needed and very welcome. It will provide more targeted and tailored services for persons with disabilities, including school leavers, and help with the resumption of day services across the country. Most important, it will help continue the transition to a more inclusive, person-centred system that empowers people.

However, while the initial funding is welcome, we need to focus on how it is spent to ensure it achieves the greatest impact. We need to ensure that the recruitment of additional posts such as therapeutic services, including speech and language therapists, starts immediately and that such important personnel are not seconded to other areas of the health services such as contract tracing, which is happening at the moment. We need to ensure the additional training places and day service enhancements are introduced as soon as possible. We need to ensure disability service providers such as Ability West and the Brothers of Charity Services Ireland are fully resourced so they can carry out their vital services without obstacles or complications and we need to provide more support and respite for the families of persons with disabilities, parents, brothers, sisters and others. It is difficult for many of us to understand how challenging it can be to care for a person with a disability. It impacts on all aspects of family life, including on siblings. The challenge becomes greater as parents grow older and we have all met parents and made representations on behalf of many parents whose greatest concern is who will care for their loved ones or their children when they cannot, or when they die what will happen to their loved ones.

Will the Leader facilitate a special debate on disability services and the disability budget? This will involve a proper, reasoned debate to ensure every euro is spent appropriately for the greatest good. Will the Leader follow this up with the Minister for disability services?

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