News & Media

Welcome move by Minister Rabbitte on pausing roll out of the HSE’s Disability service reconfiguration

8 April 2021

Statement by Senator Marie Sherlock
Seanad Whip and Spokesperson on Employment Affairs, Media, Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht
  • Good news for Holy Family School for the Deaf Cabra, Carmona in Glenageary, St Columba's in Cork and Rosedale, Galway

Senator Marie Sherlock this evening welcomed the announcement by Minister for Disability Anne Rabbitte that she has instructed the HSE to pause the roll out of their “Progressing Disability Services” strategy (PDS). PDS is the HSE’s reconfiguration strategy of children’s disability services in the community.

“This announcement this evening is a great boost for the parents and staff in the Holy Family School for the Deaf in Cabra as they were facing the loss of their in- school specialist speech and language therapy service. This therapy is absolutely vital to the delivery of education and the development of children in the school and is relied upon by 54% of the 140 pupil school”.

"Over the past month, we have been pleading with the HSE and the Minister to respond to the parents’ and teachers’ concerns about the profound impact of the loss of service and the prospect of days lost out of school in trying to access the services elsewhere.  I have also had contact from very worried parents from the Carmona school in Glenageary and St Columba’s School for the Deaf in Cork- the news that the withdrawal of therapists from these schools has been paused is a great boost for them."

“To be fair, Minister Rabbitte has publicly expressed her strong desire that the therapies be retained within the school. This evening’s announcement was borne out of her frustration that the HSE was not listening to the parent’s concerns nor providing sufficient assurances as to future delivery of disability services.

"The Holy Family School for the Deaf is due to meet with Minister Rabbitte next week and we look forward to ensuring that the specialist speech and language therapy can be permanently retained on-site in the school, as has been the situation in the school for the last ten years."