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Fresh focus on children’s disabilities will be key in combatting lack of therapy services – Currie & Carrigy

21st December 2022 - Emer Currie and Senator Micheál Carrigy

A revived approach to children’s disabilities will be crucial in increasing therapy services, according to two Fine Gael Senators.

Fine Gael Senators Emer Currie and Micheál Carrigy have highlighted the fresh determination outlined by Government in ensuring that children get the education to which they have a right and which they need.

Senator Currie said, “I was delighted to hear An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, emphasise the significance of helping those most vulnerable in our society and improving access to therapies.

“The children’s disability network team, CDNT, in my area cannot give some families a timeframe for when a child will be seen. I have been advised that there were 96 posts to be filled across CHO 9, in speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and psychology. For instance, in Blakestown, 44% of posts are unfilled.

“My Fine Gael colleague and Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris, has made incredible progress and opened avenues for learners.

“Last year, we saw additional places allocated in universities for medical students, almost 4,500 additional places. In this instance, I look forward to similar action and recommendations from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) in response to an Expression of Interests (EOI) process on additional places for therapists in higher education institutions.

“We must also consider that people’s ability to find their purpose in life should not be primarily based on the points they get in the leaving certificate examination,” concluded Senator Currie.

Senator Carrigy added, “In my home County of Longford, for a number of months this year, just .5 of speech and language posts were filled with over 230 children waiting on an assessment of needs. Furthermore, more than 700 were waiting for services.

“There are more than 800 posts that are fully funded by the Government across all therapy services, including speech and language, occupational therapy, and psychology, but which are not filled because we do not have qualified people available to take up the jobs within the HSE.

“The outcome and reality of this situation is that children are suffering. Fine Gael are determined to tackle this issue,” concluded Senator Carrigy.

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