Cork protest over lack of help for children with disabilities

Cork members of the recently established Families Unite for Services and Support (Fuss) will march on Grand Parade on Saturday, June 11.
Cork protest over lack of help for children with disabilities

Attendees at the May protest march in support of families seeking improvements to disability services. Pic: Larry Cummins

CORK campaigners, who have joined forces under a new group that has been established to support parents of children with disabilities, are set to protest in Cork for the second time this summer.

Cork members of the recently established Families Unite for Services and Support (Fuss) will march on Grand Parade on Saturday, June 11.

They are calling for adequate support and services for their children.

The group’s first march, which took place in earlier this month, was attended by more than 200 people, and families that have been affected by a lack of services spoke about their experiences.

The organiser of the Cork march, Rebecca O’Riordan, has called for more Government action on the issues affecting families and for leadership on the matter from Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

Ms O’Riordan said there were a number of areas where they believed action was needed.

“We are calling on the Government to urgently begin outsourcing assessments to clear the backlog [of children awaiting assessments],” she said.

“We urgently need a costed and realistic plan for recruitment and retention of staff...We need to open up access to personal budgets for respite and put an end to families being forced to fundraise for vital equipment that should be covered on their medical cards.

“If progressing disabilities is going to be salvaged, then we need to act now to implement the parent forums outlined in key documents.

“We simply cannot ignore parents” voices and then ask why this is not working, Ms O’Riordan said.

“Parents are the ones navigating this system from start to finish.

“We see where the cracks are and we simply want to work together to fix this,” she added.

Meanwhile, Ms O’Riordan said while commitments had been made with regard to the return of therapists to schools, they would be continuing to highlight the issue.

“We understand promises have been made to return therapists to schools but we will continue to raise awareness of this issue until they walk through those doors because we have been the victim of too many broken promises before.”

Ms O’Riordan invited people affected to come forward and stand with other parents at the march.

“This is a crisis that cannot wait any longer for action and anyone who wants to get involved is very welcome,” she said.

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