Sinn Féin TD,Darren O’Rourke, has welcomed the allocation of €1.65m to respite services in Meath, but told Meath Live it needs to be used correctly.
He said, “Respite services for adults and children with disabilities are absolutely essential. In Meath, we have a chronic shortage and this has a direct impact on families and carers. The system is at breaking point and it’s grossly unfair. Currently in Meath, respite is available for adults at Na Driseoga and Clann Mór in Navan; for children at the Meadows, Navan; for children and adults at Mo Shaol; and for young people at the shared-service in Bower House, Balbriggan. Demand far, far exceeds supply. There are approximately 200 families in the county waiting on respite.
“It is a damning indictment on the state and how it cares for those most in need and yet another example of how Co. Meath fares poorly. It cannot be overstated how important these services are and how much they are needed.
“In their response to my Parliamentary Questions, the HSE confirmed that additional funding is available.”
“While there are requirements for additional respite capacity in all six counties of the CHO, Meath has been identified as a priority.
“Business Cases were submitted to Minister Rabbitte for the development of both an additional adult and children’s respite service in Meath from 2023 development funds.
“CHO Midlands/Louth/Meath recently received confirmation of the 2023 National Service Plan. Revenue funding has been allocated for the development of disability respite services in CHO Midlands/Louth/Meath, which will be utilised in Meath.
“2023 revenue funding of €1.6 million has been recently allocated to CHO Midlands/Louth/Meath Disability services for the development of additional respite. No HSE capital funding has been secured in 2023, service providers will be required to secure properties.
“Through a thorough tendering process identified, service provider/s will be required to develop high quality services that can cater for the needs of children and adults, in two separate services / properties. Service Level Arrangements will be in place.
“Commencement of new services may take up to one year as accommodation must be secured and brought up to HIQA standards, staff recruited and governance structures put in place by the service provide
However O’Rourke responded, “While it is very welcome that funding has been made available to secure additional respite capacity, it is disappointing that no capital funding is available. The state continues to outsource its responsibility. We know that third party providers find it difficult to find buildings and they find it even harder to find staff. This money is welcome, but money itself isn’t enough. It must be translated, urgently, in 2023, into services. Anything else will be insult to injury. I will continue to pursue this.”