Louth TD Gerry Adams has said that services in Louth must be improved to ensure greater autonomy and better quality of life for people who have sustained spinal cord injuries (SCI).
Gerry Adams said;
“I received information following a Dáil briefing by Spinal Injuries Ireland on 22nd June that 72 people in Louth have a Spinal Cord Injury (SCI). Spinal Injuries Ireland estimates that for every person with an injury to their spinal cord, there are an additional 10 people in their community of family and friends impacted. This means that almost 1,000 people in this constituency are affected.”
During the briefing in the Dáil a number of people living with SCI’s explained how their lives were affected by their disability.
Gerry Adams said;
“The common theme from these testimonies is the necessity for people with a spinal cord injury to have automatic access to a medical card. The potential loss of the medical card is an immensely significant barrier for people with disabilities and chronic illness entering employment and Spinal Injuries Ireland’s research has shown that while 84% of people with an SCI were employed at the time of their injury, 76% are unemployed following injury.
“It has also been suggested by advocates working in the field that some people with disabilities, fearful they might lose their medical card, have left employment. Unless the medical card system is reformed, this will continue to act as one of the most significant poverty traps.”
Commenting on his actions on the matter, Teachta Adams said:
“I have submitted a parliamentary question to the Health Minister to find out what services are available in Louth for people with an SCI, in addition I have queried the access to community rehabilitation services in Louth and the fact that there is no Irish based rehabilitation service for people with an SCI who are on ventilation treatment
“I believe we should cherish people with disabilities and support them to participate fully in society. This begins by ensuring access to medical care and appropriate supports to access employment.”