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Clare councillors have stressed the importance of respite and daycare services for personnel with disabilities resuming during the lockdown.

Increased engagement between Clare County Council, the HSE and Brothers of Charity in Clare was sought by Cllr Susan Crawford (GP) to facilitate the resumption of both daycare and respite services in the county as a matter of urgency.

COVID-19 cannot be used as an excuse when it comes to the provision of these services, Cllr Crawford maintained. “Every single step of the way, we had to fight for service provision in this county and country,” she recalled of seeking better services for her autistic adult son, Tomás. She stated that is was a “very poor reflection” that some aspects of services resumed yet other vulnerable adults were left in their homes in remote parts of the county with no daycare services.

Cllr Crawford quoted Mahatma Gandhi, “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members,” and claimed that organisations responsible for such services in Clare received “large pots of funding in January and services have not resumed”.

Further problems were expected by Cllr Ann Norton (IND) with the return to lockdown. “A lot of service users don’t understand why they are not being allowed go to the service they are used to going to, some might feel they are being punished”. She added, “A huge amount of money was set aside for disabilities in Budget, where is it going”.

“These people don’t understand why they can’t go to their services. Some are very particular about their routine and now they can’t understand. These services need to continue,” Cllr Donna McGettigan (SF) stressed.

Difficulty has been experienced by individuals trying to access the services, Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND) flagged. “There is myth and there is reality, in some circles there are people who should know better and they are putting out a lot of information which isn’t factual, the Government and the HSE are beginning to think these services are available”. The Shannon representative continued, “COVID is serious but I hate to see them use it as an excuse”.

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