Don’t let the Government further dismantle services for people with disabilities - Tóibín
Earlier this month the staff of Cuisle Accessible Resort run by the Irish Wheelchair Association were informed the centre would close on November 29th. Cuisle is a fully accessible holiday and respite centre in Roscommon that caters for all people, but is designed to especially cater to the needs of people with disabilities. Cuisle will close as it is unable to access funds to complete the rewiring of the building and associated works.
The IWA also cites a change in direction in best practice approaches, moving away from congregated health service settings to integrated holiday services. However, Cuisle is not a health facility, and therefore its current service provision is very much in line with the integrated approach set out in the HSE policy document: Time to Move on from Congregated Settings: A Strategy for Community Inclusion.
The IWA, and the Minister of State for Disability Finian McGrath TD, said that they are planning to provide a wider range of choice to people with disabilities by partnering with accessible hotels. While this is to be welcomed, this new strategy will only commence in March 2020. It is not clear that that the level of care currently provided at Cuisle can be provided in a hotel setting for those with more complex needs. At present Cuisle has a great many existing bookings from Ireland and beyond. There is no contingency plan for these cancellations, and will likely constitute a personal emergency for these individuals and their carers, potentially placing them under great stress as their respite has been withdrawn.
Peadar Tóibín stated:
"It is disappointing that the Minister has demanded the closure of Cuisle before the new strategy has been started, let alone tested. The decision for the planned closure of Cuisle on the 29th of November was taken without any consultation with the staff and users of Cuisle.
"To abandon Cuisle Holiday Centre without consultation with users is foolish, and to do so with such haste in advance of an untested pilot may result in real hardship for people with disabilities and their families.
"We must call on the Minister to reverse this decision, to grant funding so the facility can remain open for at least another 12 months. This will allow proper engagement with staff and users of Cuisle, and crucially will allow the time necessary to adequately test the new integrated HSE strategy.
"This is not just an issue for Roscommon, but for every county in Ireland where people with disabilities live who use the service. The community in Roscommon, led by Councillor Anthony Waldron, is holding a protest on Wednesday 13th November outside Dáil Eireann from 12-2pm, and their views need to be listened to."