The Government has been challenged over the lack of respite care services being provided in Drumboe House, in Stranorlar and the need for a seven-day week respite service in Seaview House, in Mountcharles.
The issue was raised by Sinn Féin TD for Donegal, Pearse Doherty in the Dáil on Monday.
He received a positive update from Minister for State Anne Rabbite who said conversations have started with the HSE to ensure a funding application will be put forward to expand the Seaview House service from five days to seven days.
Speaking in the Dáil, Teachta Doherty said: “As the Minister of State is aware, Covid-19 has presented a particular hardship for those caring for their loved ones. They have been without a break and respite. It is heartbreaking to speak to mothers and fathers who are finding it difficult to cope.”
In relation to Drumboe House, Teachta Doherty said: “We have been aware of the realities of Covid-19 for well over a year. Notwithstanding the fantastic job many staff are doing in facilities such as Drumboe Respite House, Stranorlar, which is being used as emergency accommodation for a number of vulnerable adults, children and families are being asked to forego respite care services. There is no end in sight for them.”
“If it is the case that contingency plans for accommodation or respite care in other facilities need to be put in place, then so be it. I ask the Minister of State to put in place a plan to reopen Drumboe Respite House as a matter of urgency. It would be welcome were she to provide a date for when this will happen. I ask the Minister of State to bear in mind that the children who use this facility are familiar with it. They know it intimately and they feel safe and secure there. This is an important consideration. After the year these children and families have faced, they deserve that the Department acts with urgency to resolve the situation and get Drumboe Respite House reopened for respite care services.”
In relation to Seaview House, Teachta Doherty continued: “Seaview Respite House in Mountcharles is another facility that provides a lifeline for many families in south Donegal and further afield. I have been raising the issue of this critical service for many years.
“The Minister of State said it is open for five days a week and she would like it to open seven days a week. There is no reason this cannot happen bar a budgeting reason. Will the Minister of State give a commitment to make the funds available to allow this service to open for seven days a week?
“It is slowly reopening but it only ever provided a five-day service. What the families are calling for, and what I am asking for today, is the Minister of State to act urgently to reopen Seaview Respite House on a seven-day basis. The need is there and it is very clear. If the Minister of State does not believe me, I invite her to come to Donegal to speak to the families who contact my office in desperation every week. They tell me in no uncertain terms that the facility is crucial. They need this support and I urge the Minister of State to look at this demand to open Seaview Respite House.”
“She has said she would like to see it open on a seven-day basis. Let us do it. Let us make the funds available to Rehab to provide the two extra days.”