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Jennifer O’Connor, her stepdad Tom and mum Rosemary O’Connor.
Jennifer O’Connor, her stepdad Tom and mum Rosemary O’Connor.
Image: Rehab group

'Enormous relief' as Rehab secures additional €2 million funding to continue disability services

The group secured an additional €2 million following a series of negotiations.
May 22nd 2019, 9:08 AM 8,129 20

REHAB GROUP HAS said it will be able to continue providing care services for adults and children with disabilities after securing an additional €2 million in funding. 

Following a series of talks with Health Minister Simon Harris, Disability Minister Finian McGrath, and the HSE an agreement was reached yesterday evening to fund RehabCare’s services, which are used by 3,000 adults and children. 

The group and its board said they were “deeply relieved” that its care services in 117 locations across the country can continue to be provided.

Rehab Group CEO, Mo Flynn welcomed yesterday’s resolution adding that it can now “continue to provide these vital services to the people who rely on them”. 

“The news will come as an enormous relief to the people in our services, their families and our dedicated staff who have worked so hard to campaign for the continuation of their services.”

RehabCare provides respite and residential services for children, many with high-support needs. It also runs day services for adults with supported accommodation services, allowing hundreds of people to live independently in their communities, some after leaving decades of institutional care.

Some families who rely on the services gathered outside the Dáil ahead of yesterday’s talks. Many said they would be “totally lost” without RehabCare. 

Jen  Bray RehabCare 4 Jennifer Bray Source: RehabCare

Rosemary O’Connor from Bray said that her family would be devastated if the RehabCare centre attended by her daughter Jennifer was to close.

Jennifer, 25, contracted meningitis at three months old which led to developing cerebral palsy, epilepsy and an intellectual disability.

Until the age of 18, Jennifer – who has very limited mobility and verbal communication -  had been attending a local Enable Ireland school but as she was entering adulthood the family said their options were limited.

Rosemary said they were lucky to get Jennifer a place at Lear Ar Aghaidh RehabCare day service in Bray, something she says changed their lives.  

“Jennifer has been going to Lear Ar Aghaidh for five years now and it’s been brilliant. We’ve had open communication from the start, it was all new but she settled in really quickly and started to blossom. We can see she’s well stimulated and aware of other people.

“She has made so much progress socially, emotionally, mentally and verbally in these five years. It’s just a small example but she used to have no patience and wasn’t really aware of other people, I suppose you’d say she can be quite selfish. If we were ever eating out, even in McDonald’s, if she finished her meal first we had to go or there would be a meltdown. It meant we left a lot of meals before we were finished back then,” Rosemary said prior to the announcement. 

In the five years that Jennifer has been attending Lear Ar Aghaidhm, Rosemary said her daughter is more communicative because the RehabCare staff treat her as an adult.  

“She is given choices and her choices are acted upon. If she wants to stop an activity and do something different that’s what happens. She isn’t very verbal but we can see she feels very much empowered.

“Jennifer takes quite some time to adapt to change and she would miss the service terribly. We’d all be devastated, the service is so good, we would be totally at a loss without it,” Rosemary said. 

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Adam Daly


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