Long-term closures of disability centres will leave a lasting effect, a Clare disability advocate has cautioned.

Criticism of the disability allowance, continued closure of centres to cater for individuals with disabilities and the lack of clarity provided has been voiced by Cllr Ann Norton (IND) in recent weeks.

At Monday’s meeting of Clare County Council, she declared that there was “huge upset” that disability centres had not reopened with parents “told it could be January before they reopen”. Ann felt Tanáiste Leo Varadkar (FG) struggled to brush off questions when pressed during the past week and disagreed with his stance that they remained closed ‘due to safety’.

“People with intellectual disabilities are being cared for 24/7 by people who are unable to provide the service,” the Barefield woman cautioned. The manager of the Clare Crusaders Clinic said that parents were getting “no supports” and that households were under financial pressure as a result.

She urged management of UL Hospitals Group to hold the necessary conversations with figures in power to put supports in place. “Services need to be resumed as quickly as possible. These people are not used to being home full-time”.

Maria Bridgeman, Chief Officer with Midwest Community Healthcare admitted, “We are challenged on standing back on all of those day services”. She outlined that the same amount of numbers pre COVID-19 can now longer be catered for, “we need to ensure they can’t come in the same numbers”. Transporting individuals will be an issue, Bridgeman noted and assured Cllr Norton, “We are trying to prioritise people”.

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