State to provide disabled girl with weekly tuition

 

THE STATE has agreed to provide a disabled teenage girl, who has a rare life-threatening genetic disorder, with 20 hours of tuition per week under a settlement of High Court proceedings brought against it on her behalf.

Proceedings against the HSE have been adjourned to next month after the girl’s family said its offer of care for her is inadequate to meet her needs.

Ted Harding, for the HSE, said it had made the best offer it could in the current climate, but was hopeful additional funding could be available in the near future.

The president of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, commended the girl’s parents for what they had done for her. The situation appeared to be affected by the current cutbacks in public services, he added.

Blu O’Carroll Cassidy (15), Dalysfort Road, Salthill, Galway was born with a rare metabolic disorder – Propionic Acidaemia (PA) – which means her body cannot break down proteins.

The court heard the teenager has brain damage, is wheelchair-bound, has never attended school and will require 24-hour care for the rest of her life. She is on a special diet, highly susceptible to infections, and her bones are brittle and can break easily.

Her parents told the court she had developed very well in recent years, and they had taken the action to maximise Blu’s potential.

Suing through her father, Ms O’Carroll Cassidy had brought proceedings against the Minister for Education, National Council for Special Education Ireland, the Attorney General and the HSE. She sought orders directing that the defendants provide her with appropriate education and support therapies and services, in line with her constitutional rights.

Mr Justice Kearns yesterday approved the settlement of the action against the State. There will also be a payment of €25,000 for past expenses.