The lack of respite services for children in Donegal was highlighted to the Tánaiste yesterday, when it was revealed that families have been waiting three years for respite.
Drumboe Respite House in Stranorlar has been providing emergency residential accommodation since Covid-19.
The disruption in Stranorlar and at other centres nationwide has left families distressed, exhausted and at breaking point, Donegal Deputy Pearse Doherty told the Dáil.
He said he has been contacted by one Donegal mother who has two children with special needs who are unable to access Drumboe Respite House.
The Sinn Féin Deputy said that issues are “down to a failure to plan and to ensure the workforce, capacity and facilities are in place.”
“With respect, these are some of the most vulnerable children and adults in the State,” Deputy Doherty said.
Tánaiste Micheál Martin commented that staffing was the issue.
“Every year, resources have been increased and expanded, and correctly so, in respect of special needs,” Mr Martin said.
“The funding is there to recruit staff to these services and facilities, and funding will continue to be provided and it will be expanded.
“The focus of the HSE and the providers is to do everything possible to recruit staff and provide a service that is without discrimination, in the context of whatever school a child attends, and that provides the respite care, physiotherapy, speech and language and neurorehabilitation that children may require. That is the approach. We are working with the HSE to make sure it can achieve the capacity that is required to open these beds.”