Sinn Fein TD, Sorca Clarke.

'We must listen to people with disabilities and provide vital respite services' - Clarke

Sinn Féin TD Sorca Clarke has called on government TDs to start listening to people with disabilities and provide vital respite services they need.

Speaking ahead of a Sinn Féin motion, brought forward by spokesperson on Disability Pauline Tully and spokesperson on Health David Cullinane, Deputy Clarke added that it is time the government gave people with disabilities and their families a break and provided them with care and support.

“The government isn’t listening to people with disabilities. It is time they gave them and their families a break and provide vital respite services. The government is failing on assessments of need, services and respite care. The longer they are in power the worse things will get – it’s time for change," said Dep Clarke.

“Respite and short break services play an essential role in supporting familiar carers and people with disabilities, yet three quarters of families get no respite at all. There is now a significant and growing level of unmet need in terms of respite care, with less than 5,200 people receiving a respite service in 2022 despite an estimated 20,000 people or more with intellectual disabilities, physical and sensory disabilities, and autism living with family.

“Scandalously, fewer people received respite services in 2022 than in 2018, when more than 6,300 families were in receipt of respite care. Sinn Féin’s motion, which will be debated in the Dáil today, Tuesday, calls on the government to work with stakeholders and service providers across the sector to address their immediate workforce and facility needs," she explained.

“It also urges the government to leverage all existing capacity in the sector to support the reopening of closed respite centres, maintain existing capacity in the sector, and prevent further closures.

“They must also implement a multi-annual strategic workforce plan to expand services to address extreme levels of unmet need. The government needs to start listening to people with disabilities and their families. Adopting these measures would give people with disabilities and their families the care, services and support they need," Dep Clarke finished.