FIANNA Fáil Leader, Micheál Martin TD, has labelled the Government’s response to the absence of suitable placements for young adults with intellectual disabilities a disgrace.
Deputy Martin was reacting to the lack of action or response from the Government to almost 160 young adults with intellectual disabilities who will have no placement in September.
Deputy Martin commented: “I have raised this issue a number of times over the past few months but sadly my calls have fallen on deaf ears. The Government’s response to this crisis has been a disgrace, with a little over a month left until the new school year starts, we have 153 young adults of school leaving age who will have nowhere to go come September.
“Just yesterday I met a mother from Cork who was forced to go on national television to raise the issue of her daughter after she was informed there is no place for her in adult services. Her existing respite and home support services also ended when she finished school.
“I find this situation appalling and for the Government and the Minister with responsibility for Disabilities to ignore this is disgraceful. I raised the issue in May when I called on the Government in the Dáil to ensure that the hundreds of young school leavers with intellectual disabilities have access to placements in centres across the country.
“The additional funding provided every year to facilitate an increased absorption of students with disabilities from second level has not been provided in 2012. This is causing immense distress across the country.
“We need to see immediate action from the Minister Kathleen Lynch to alleviate the unacceptable anxiety and distress this has been causing families. Of the 660 young adults in the country leaving second-level education, one in four have no placement available to them come September.
“What is equally concerning is the fact that these young adults have no say on where they will be placed. There is a distinct lack of planning on this and the Minister needs to act quickly to ensure these young adults have a secure and definite placement by September.