People with disabilities wait up to 13 years for residential place

Demand for services at ‘breaking point’, say campaigners

Paddy Connolly of Inclusion Ireland: “The erosion of disability specific and mainstream supports of the past years denotes a complete lack of understanding of the lives lived and challenges faced by people with disabilities and their families.”  Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Paddy Connolly of Inclusion Ireland: “The erosion of disability specific and mainstream supports of the past years denotes a complete lack of understanding of the lives lived and challenges faced by people with disabilities and their families.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Fri, Oct 11, 2013, 07:56

People with intellectual disabilities are waiting in some cases up to 13 years to get residential placements, official figures show.

There are now some 2,000 adults or children with disabilities living with parents who have been assessed as requiring a residential place.

However, demand for these places exceeds the services available. Some disability service providers say they cannot accommodate any more people without additional resources.

In some cases, voluntary agencies say they have families who have been waiting between 10 and 13 years for a residential place.

Growing uncertainty
Francis Conaty of the National Parents and Siblings Alliance said there was growing uncertainty over whether emergency residential placements – such as when the parent of a person with an intellectual disability dies suddenly – will be available.

“Over the past five years the policy pursued has been to drastically cut budgets to service providers,” he said.

“They are now, however, at breaking point. This year they cannot absorb school-leavers with profound disabilities into their services with any semblance of a proper service for them.”

Other groups such as Inclusion Ireland, Irish Autism Action, and Down Syndrome Ireland have called on the Government to ensure there are no further cuts to services on foot of next week’s budget.

Paddy Connolly of Inclusion Ireland said: “The erosion of disability specific and mainstream supports of the past years denotes a complete lack of understanding of the lives lived and challenges faced by people with disabilities and their families.”