THE founder of a newly established group supporting parents of children with disabilities in their fight for adequate services has thanked all of those who protested with them last week.
Speaking to The Echo, founder of Families Unite for Services and Support (FUSS) Rachel Martin said that all three protests that took place across the country were “well attended”.
In Cork, more than 200 people gathered at Grand Parade to show their support for those in need of services and to hear others’ stories. Ms Martin also acknowledged all political parties in attendance at the various protests who she said “chose to stand and listen to parents and services users in a show of solidarity”.
“We are in the process of planning further demonstrations around the country with Galway, Limerick and Cavan already set to come on board. There will be demonstrations at HSE HQ and further rallies outside the Dáil before the summer recess,” she said.
Ms Martin said that the main goal is to hold those responsible for such a lack of service accountable and for a Workforce Planning Strategy including international recruitment as “staff shortages are the most cited excuse regarding the Progressing Disability Services for Children and Young People (PDS) crisis.
Micheál Martin said on Friday he will be meeting shortly with the HSE to discuss the issue of children’s disability services, and also that current policy needs to be reviewed “in its entirety”.
Speaking at the protest last Friday, mother Christina Elliot said that if it was not for the private service that her young daughter “would not be getting the services she is getting”.
“My little girl is two and only for the private services that we’re getting ourselves through the Down Syndrome Centre we would have had no help in the last two years.
“We had an initial meeting with our service provider but since then I can even count on one hand the number of meetings we’ve had in the last two years.
“So they really need to do something about it. They’ve used the excuse of the pandemic but it’s not the pandemic - this is going on for years and - there have been people suffering for years so something needs to be done about it. People shouldn’t have to be organising their own services and only for other groups, we wouldn’t have what we have and my daughter wouldn’t be where she is now.”