Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath, Imelda Munster, has called on the government and HSE to stop breaking the law, stop cutting corners, and provide children with disabilities with the services they need.
Sinn Féin introduced a Dáil motion calling on government to ensure that the rights of children with disabilities are fully protected, that they fulfil their obligations under the Disability Act in full, and that the Optional Protocol on the UNCRPD is implemented.
Teachta Munster said:
“The High Court has ruled that the HSE’s assessment of need process is operating outside of the law and is denying children with disabilities their right, as set down in the Disability Act, to a proper assessment of need within six months.
“As has been constantly raised by Sinn Féin, this procedure was introduced in 2020 in bad faith as a mechanism for the government to avoid its legal obligations.
“They have now been found out.
“The judgement was a damning indictment of government policy and their abject failure to appropriately resource Children’s Disability Services.
“It reflects the widespread personal testimonies of parents and disability organisations who have shared their harrowing and exhausting experiences with Sinn Féin TDs.
“We will continue to stand up for these children and their parents, and we will ensure that their voices are heard.
“Earlier this month, the government accepted our motion on assessment of need, which pointed out consistent breaches of the law. They also accepted the High Court ruling.
“Of late, government has been accepting motions, or not opposing them, purely for fear of public backlash. But the reality is that they never act on them.
“But what we need to see now is action. The Minister must commit to providing the funding and resources necessary to ensure children get the services they need in a timely manner.
“Sinn Féin’s motion calls on government to implement the optional protocol on the UNCRPD, and to commit that any review of the Disability Act will not be used to undermine the current rights of people with disabilities.
“We are also calling for an immediate upgrade of the relevant IT systems and databases to accurately maintain and report on the data required under the Disability Act 2005.
“They must also develop and implement a strategy to recruit and retain the staff needed to deliver services, including reviewing the current critical skills list and providing a job guarantee to health and social care graduates.
“We also believe that full reports before the Houses of the Oireachtas before the summer recess are necessary. These must detail in full how government will meet its legal obligations under the Disability Act and resource Children’s Disability Services.
“The government must live up to its legal obligations and provide children with disabilities with the services they need.”