July 9, 2020
People living with intellectual disabilities and families caring for them need a break – Mary Lou McDonald TD

Mary Lou McDonald

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has called on government to provide a capital fund that would facilitate the reopening of disability services to give people living with intellectual disabilities and families caring for them a much-needed break.

Deputy McDonald and Sinn Féin spokesperson on Disability Pauline Tully TD echoed appeals from Inclusion Ireland to provide funding for service providers to either search for bigger premises or make modifications that would enable them to reopen with increased capacity.

Speaking today, Teachta McDonald said: “The HSE yesterday issued a guidance document in respect of the reopening of day services for people with disabilities closed for more than three months since Covid-19 restrictions began.

“This has resulted in more and more families caring for loved ones at home, which has led to great stress and lots of additional challenges. 

“Inclusion Ireland described the 72-page document as non-committal on timelines, and highlighted numerous issues in respect of staffing and capacity.

“They say this will put further pressure on those with intellectual disabilities and their families. 

“I spoke with Inclusion Ireland CEO Enda Egan today. He reaffirmed that it is crucially important that daycare services for people with disabilities get back up and running – at full capacity – very quickly, adding that families around the country are at burnout level.

“He highlighted that there are now four ministers with a brief extending across issues relating to people with disabilities. He has appealed for a capital fund to be put in place to allow service providers to search for bigger premises or to make modifications that would enable them to accommodate more people.

“He also pointed out that this is available to schools and older person services.

“The government must commit to this and bring some clarity to families struggling at this time, and my colleague Deputy Pauline Tully will continue to highlight this issue until a resolution is found.”

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