News & Media

People with disabilities being left behind in Covid re-opening

9 July 2020

Statement by Alan Kelly TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Health and Disability Services

Labour Party Leader, Alan Kelly TD, has called on the Government to outline specifically when day services for people with disabilities will return.

Deputy Kelly said:

“Today in the Dáil I raised the very serious issue of the resumption of disability day services with the Tánaiste, and it is still unclear what the plan is to get these services back on track.

“In the last days I have spoken to many families and people who avail of these vital services about their experiences of what life has been like since day services stopped in March and it paints a very bleak picture.

“Since this pandemic began, people with disabilities have been completely left behind. It is not good enough to expect vital services, which are a lifeline for so many to be replaced with a Zoom call once every few days. That is not an adequate replacement for real social interaction and does not provide adequate respite for families.

“Families from across the country have been relaying to me that people with disabilities who rely on health services are regressing and recent research by Inclusion Ireland shows that people with disabilities are suffering from increased anxiety and loneliness since services shut their doors in early March.

“I was particularly struck by meeting a young man called Philip last night who told me about how hard it has been without routine since March and how he just wants to get back to his services. The Government and the HSE need to right by people like Philip.

“We know now when we can meet with friends again for social events, much of the services we rely on to live our lives our now back up and running, people with disabilities need to know when they can expect to get back into a routine and back into their services.

“We live in a republic and in a republic we look after our most vulnerable. We cannot continue to let down those with intellectual disabilities. The lack of clarity from the Tánaiste today was incredibly disappointing and we need to do better.”