Nov 23, 2022, Irish Examiner: Taoiseach says he is dissatisfied with services for children with autism https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-41013302.html
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said he is not satisfied with the services being provided to children with autism through the HSE.
Mr Martin made the comments during Leaders’ Questions when Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald mentioned the Darmody family who have been left in limbo with securing additional assessments and autism therapy for their son, Neil.
Ms McDonald said 18,000 children are on a waiting list to get initial contact with the children’s disability team and 2,500 of these children are overdue their assessments.
Recently Cara Darmody, 12, and her father Mark addressed the committee on autism in Leinster House in which Mr Carmody told of their struggles in getting support for his son, Neil.
Speaking in the Dáil on Wednesday, Ms McDonald said Mr Darmody had been told his son would be on a waiting list indefinitely and has been “stonewalled” by the HSE.
She said Mr Darmody has said the lack of intervention has caused “irreparable damage” to his son, who bites and punches himself all day.
More than a quarter of children's disability posts are vacant, equating to over 480,000 lost therapy hours and “this is a result of a failure to plan and invest in the specialised workforce and services for children with disabilities”, Ms McDonald told the Dáil.
In response, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said funding had been allocated but the HSE has said there is a recruitment issue….
He said the key issue is the capacity of the HSE to recruit therapists but said that is “no consolation to children and families trying to access services".
He said there appears to be no issues recruiting therapists in other areas such as community care or in stroke units….