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People with disabilities have been ‘forgotten’ during pandemic, Dáil told

Day services have only reopened at 40% capacity.

The Sinn Féin leader read out parents accounts of surviving in the pandemic with no services.
The Sinn Féin leader read out parents accounts of surviving in the pandemic with no services.
Image: RollingNews.ie

PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES are the forgotten people of the pandemic, the Dáil has heard.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald called on the Government to restore disability services curtailed because of Covid-19 and provide additional funding for the sector in next week’s Budget.

She said she had been contacted by hundreds of families who had seen their loved one “regress and deteriorate” due to the lack of services in recent months.

Quoting the testimony of a mother with a child with disabilities, she said: “Everybody seems to have forgotten the children and adults who have disabilities. They’ve been left at home with no consistency or back-up.”

Quoting another parent, she added: “Those with disabilities and their families are being swept under the carpet. We are the forgotten people of the pandemic.”

She described the correspondence she has received as the “unvarnished reality” of people’s lives without these services.

The Taoiseach admitted the withdrawal and curtailing of services had made conditions “very stressful” for a lot of people.

“I accept that many, many families and many people with special needs and disabilities have had an extremely stressful and tough time during this pandemic,” he said.

The Fianna Fail leader added he is “determined” to improve the situation for those affected.

But he warned there are “substantial challenges” to doing so.

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Mr Martin said additional money had been allocated to enable adult day services to resume, but he added there will be further difficulties and restraints due to the move to level three coronavirus restrictions across the country.

He told the Dail: “Day services have reopened at 40% capacity through August and September. That said, it is far short of what people require and need.”

He added that providing additional funding for disabilities had been discussed in Government ahead of next week’s budget.

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