Sligo Leitrim South Donegal TD, Marian Harkin
South Donegal TD, Marian Harkin says that the Ministers for Health and Finance had a clear responsibility to people with disabilities and their carers in the coming budget.
This point was made strongly by Marian Harkin TD in a Dail debate on a motion of which she was co-signature and which sought to have the immediate re-opening of day and other disability services.
The €10 million currently allocated to the disability sector was hard fought for but its inadequacy shocked the National Federation of Voluntary Services Providers while Inclusion Ireland stated that it was a fraction of what was needed, Deputy Harkin said.
She referred to recent reports on the sector – The State of Caring 2020 report from Family Carers Ireland dealing, with pre-COVID time, and a second report Caring Through COVID – Life in Lockdown, as required reading for every person in the Dail. ‘More than that they should inform decisions taken in the upcoming budget’, she said.
The reports made harrowing reading with one carer describing COVID as a lockdown within a lockdown. Deputy Harkin stated that pre-COVID 23% of carers had already seen a decrease in the level of services offered to their loved ones in the past year and now 43% feared that normal services would not be restored after the pandemic.
‘This does not surprise me because I remember reading the initial HSE guidelines on restoration of services, which referred to a reduced quantum of services. That kind of verbiage strikes fear into the hearts of family carers who have fought long and hard to get these day services up and running in the first place’, Deputy Harkin concluded.
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