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Clifford-Lee, Lorraine

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An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

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An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

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An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

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Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee

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An Cathaoirleach

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Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee

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Lorraine Clifford-Lee

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Snippet Contents:

I draw colleagues' attention to the unparalleled crisis in the disability sector, where many people with intellectual disabilities, and their families, are enduring serious unmet needs. I hear about this issue time and again when I speak to people on doorsteps, right across north County Dublin. My colleagues are hearing the same thing throughout the country. Steps must be taken to meet the needs of people with disabilities, who are coming under increasing strain and pressure in their communities. We are all aware of the lengthy waiting times for children's disability supports and the knock-on effects of the delays on intervention milestones. Those milestones are being irretrievably missed, which has lifelong consequences for the children concerned. There has been zero progress on children's disability network teams in the past three years. There are major shortfalls in residential support and no avenue to access residential funding except in emergency situations. This means that adults with intellectual disabilities are not being given any choice as to how they live their lives. It is entirely unacceptable and completely undermines the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was ratified by Ireland last year to much fanfare by the Government.
The Cope Foundation is one of the largest providers of services to people with disabilities in the State. The Leader will be familiar with it as it is based in Cork. The organisation has today highlighted the numbers of parents providing support to a child with a disability well into their old age and without any security or peace of mind as to what will happen to their loved ones in the future. This is not an issue that is particular to Cork; we are all hearing the same thing from parents across the country. This issue is fundamental to our society and groups like the Cope Foundation must be listened to when they point out the needs that are going unmet. Between 2015 and 2018, there was a massive drop of 26,523, or 14%, in respite overnight stays for people with disabilities. That provision is absolutely essential as it gives families the break they need to be able to continue to care for their loved ones. The chief executive officer of the Cope Foundation has described the current situation as the worst he has seen in 38 years. He pointed out that 179 adults who use his organisation's services are on a residential waiting list as their only parent has become too old to care for them at home. Another 649 adults are dealing with changing needs. Will the Leader ask the Minister of State with responsibility in this area, Deputy Finian McGrath, to come to the Chamber for a proper debate on the problems with services for young people and adults with intellectual disabilities? I hope the Leader will facilitate such a debate soon.
I propose an amendment to the Order of Business, that No. 12 on the Order Paper, First Stage of the Harmful Plastics (Prohibition) Bill 2019, be taken before No. 1.