The Labour party says it is working with Cara Darmody, and her family, from Ardfinnan, County Tipperary, who have campaigned for better, swifter access to services for those with autism. The Darmody family secured funding from the HSE for a private assessment of their sons. Since then, Mark Darmody and his daughter Cara have advocated for change, Labour party spokesperson Duncan Smith says families should not be in a constant battle with the State.
Mr Smith says Labour are demanding increased accountability from the HSE in relation to Child Disability Services. If funding is available for families like the Darmody’s to receive private assessments, then it must be made available to the thousands of children waiting for their assessment according to Deputy Smith.
As of March 2023, 10,696 children have been waiting for over 12 months for initial contact with a Children’s Disability Network Team (CDNT), an increase of 836 since December, and 17,157 were waiting in total.
The Labour Party are putting forward a Dáil motion to call for immediate provision of financial relief for parents and caregivers forced to pay for private assessments and therapies until backlogs are cleared for families with children with Autism and Disabilities. Labour is calling for cross-party support of its motion to end assessment delays, tackle the multi-year waiting lists for therapies and improve the current lack of access to education supports and appropriate school places for children.
The party is calling for a cost of disability payment to families, a review of the Carers’ Allowance, and other social protection income supports, to guarantee that it meets the needs of those caring for their relatives.