Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has sought an urgent meeting with the Minister of State for Disability Issues, the HSE and the Irish Wheelchair Association to discuss the impending closure of the Cuisle respite resort.
Speaking ahead of today’s rally in Roscommon town against the closure of Cuisle the teachta McDonald said:
“Cuisle provides an invaluable service to people with a disability and their families from across Ireland. I’ve been contacted by so many people who are heartbroken at the thought of losing the resort.
“Last week service users, workers from Cuisle and families affected by the closure of Cuisle outside protested the Dáil calling on the HSE and IWA to keep the centre open.
“It’s important to acknowledge the wider use of the resort by a number of organisations including Ataxia Foundation Ireland, CanTeen Ireland, Enable Ireland, Irish Heart Foundation and Headway Ireland as well as local GAA clubs, Rugby club and other local organisations.
“In addition to the loss of services there are 48 workers at Cuisle who could lose their jobs if the resort closes.
“Responses from the HSE and the Minister of State for Disability Issues to my concerns have been deeply unsatisfactory. Neither have recognised the unique and valued services Cuisle provides to people with a disability. Critically they have not listened to those with a disability who rely on the resort.
“I have written to the HSE, the Minister of State and the Irish Wheelchair Association seeking an urgent meeting to set out in no uncertain terms service users and their family’s opposition to the closure.
“The proposed private hotel model of respite that is to replace Cuisle is not appropriate for service users’ needs and ignores the highly positive outcomes from the services provided at the resort.
“Cuisle is not a typical congregated setting for people with a disability as claimed by the Minister.
“Government has not provided the capital investment needed to maintain services at Cuisle for the long term and instead is pursuing a private operator model for what is an essential and much-loved public service.”