Nov 8, 2022, Irish Examiner: 12-year-old who addressed Dáil on autism urges health officials to 'just do their job' https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-41002052.html
The schoolgirl who met Taoiseach Micheál Martin in July to raise awareness about the lack of autism supports has urged health officials to “just do your job”.
In an impassioned speech to the Joint Committee on Autism, Cara Darmody told TDs: “I’m sick of adults who just talk.
“Why can’t you all do something about this and stop the damage being done to children with disabilities?”
Her appearance before the committee saw the 12-year-old enter the history books by becoming the youngest person ever to address a Dáil committee.
Cara, from Ardfinnan, Tipperary, was invited to give evidence to the committee following a face-to-face meeting with Taoiseach Micheál Martin in his office in July.
She has two brothers with autism — Neil, aged 10, and John, five.
Neil is severely autistic and hits himself with a clenched fist in the face on a daily basis.
Frustrated by what she sees as a lack of services, Cara has been raising awareness and funding for better services locally and nationally.
She told the committee that the shortage of autism services is “a crisis and a national disgrace”.
“My brothers Neil and John have been treated disgracefully and I am here to stand up for them.
I am also here to stand up for the almost 18,000 children who have been left to rot on waiting lists….
Cara Darmody leaving Leinster House after addressing the Oireachtas committee on autism. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos