Parents of children with disabilities took to the streets of Clonmel this morning (Monday) to tell the HSE ‘Enough is Enough.’
Thousands of children across Ireland are on waiting lists for community services up to three years long. Services like occupational therapy, psychology, speech and language therapy are not available to the children of Ireland and today’s action was to tell the government "Enough is Enough."
Clonmel mother Fiona O’Neill led the march in Clonmel. She said mammies and daddies "are just sick of waiting times for the HSE, sick of lost appointment letters, sick of non-return of phone calls."
The walk started in Clonmel at 10am from The Main Guard, going through the West Gate, turning right at the Clonmel Youth Resource Centre and ending at South Tipperary Community Care on the grounds of St Lukes Hospital, Western Road.
Responding to the marches in Clonmel, Kilkenny and Waterford, the HSE released a statement saying it acknowledges the frustrations of those parents and are committed to having the best possible services in place from within available resources.
"The HSE is rolling out the "Progressing Disability Services for Children and Young People Programme (PDS)" programme. This involves a reconfiguration of all HSE and HSE funded children’s disability services into geographically-based Children’s Disability Network Teams (Early-Intervention and School-aged or 0-18 Teams). This Programme aims to achieve a national, equitable approach in service provision for all children based on their individual need and regardless of their disability, where they live or where they go to school.
"Based on the recommendations of the Report of the National Reference Group on Multidisciplinary Services for Children aged 5-18 Years (2009), the intention is to roll out an integrated care model that will allow children, whatever the nature of their disability, to be seen as locally to their home and school as possible; at primary care level when their needs can be met there and by a network specialist interdisciplinary team if their needs are more complex.
"Since 2014, the roll out of the "Progressing Disability Services for Children and Young People (0-18s)" Programme has entailed targeted investment of €14 million nationwide and the provision of 275 additional therapy staff, to increase services for children with disabilities. These measures will have a positive impact on the provision of clinical services for all children, including those with Autism, requiring access to health related supports."
Marches took place in towns across the country at the same time as the Clonmel march and at the Cork march a petition was presented to Minister Simon Coveney.