WEST Cork TD Michael Collins told the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD that the delay by the present government and it predecessors to sign-up to the EU Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is totally unacceptable and he reminded the Taoiseach of the hundreds of people who recently gathered outside the gates of the Houses to protest for the rights of people with disabilities. “It is said that a society can be judged on the way it treats its most vulnerable citizens,” Deputy Collins said.
Deputy Collins went on to outline some of the major issues affecting people with disabilities and their families. He outlined to the Taoiseach the struggles of many parents who have to transport their adult children to disability day centres around the country, with some travelling up to four or five hours per day.
Deputy Collins said that he has tried to highlight the transport difficulties with HSE management on numerous occasions and has called for disability services nationwide to pool and share their transport resources.
“I have tried to engage with the HSE,” Deputy Collins said, “I have tried to suggest that the HSE and the other disability organisations work together to share their transport services and transport as many people as possible, but the HSE has refused to engage with me and other major stakeholders.”
“Parents are travelling on a daily basis from Bandon, Bantry and Skibbereen to and from disability services in Cork City because of the lack of transport,” Deputy Collins continued. “I have been in contact with the HSE but I cannot succeed in getting people to sit around the table. It is simply a matter of people sitting down and using their heads. There is no sense to buses travelling with one person on board and not facilitating others who are on the same route and require the same service.”
However, Deputy Collins has subsequently received a copy of letter for a constituent who wrote to Minister Finian McGrath seeking help with this transport issue only to receive a reply stating that the Minister was not responsible for this issue as it was not under his remit.