Topical Issue Debate

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The need to reverse the cuts in funding to Ability West and Brothers of Charity Services in County Galway
Dáil Éireann 25 November 2014

Thank you for the opportunity to raise this issue.

Recently announced cuts in funding for Ability West and Brothers of Charity Services in County Galway risk resulting in a reduction in front-line services available to people with intellectual disabilities in the county.

I’m sure the Minister is aware of the invaluable services provided by Ability West and Brothers of Charity throughout the west of Ireland and I am acutely aware of the value of the service being provided in county Galway. Ability West, which was set up over 50 years ago by a group of parents, now provides services to over 520 children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The Brothers of Charity, established over 200 years ago in Belgium, now provides a wide range of services for both children and adults across county Galway.

Such funding cuts are hugely worrying for service users, staff and also for elderly parents of service users who have seen cut after cut in the past seven or eight years as a vicious recession and resulting spending cuts impacted on services available in local communities across the country.

I believe that every effort should be made to shelter people with intellectual disabilities from such budget cuts. While I acknowledge the strictures that the Haddington Road Agreement placed on many organisations, I would be fearful that the real losers in this instance would be among the most vulnerable in our society.

These people certainly didn’t party during the boom times and should not have to see their services curtailed as efforts continue to be made to get government spending back on track.