THE parents of adults with intellectual disability are calling on the Health Service Executive to provide respite services in Co Louth.
Adult respite services have not been available in the county for over four years and a number of parents have started a campaign to have it restored.
Dundalk Parents and Friends Group founding member David Lally raised the issue with Minister for Health Simon Harris in Dundalk recently.
“Local politicians are supporting the call for the provision of a respite service in Dundalk. The meeting with Minister Harris was arranged by Louth Fine Gael TD Peter Fitzpatrick,” said David.
“Councillor Maeve Yore has also been very active in pressing the HSE to fund this service.”
David added: “A suitable house has been identified in Dundalk and has been purchased by a charity that specialises in the provision of services for people with an intellectual disability.
“But the HSE has not committed any revenue funding to staff and run the service. He stressed to the Minister the pressures that many families face if they cannot get regular respite.
“The Minister agreed to raise the issue with the HSE and try to secure funding to get the service underway.”
Mary Darcy from Dundalk Parents and Friends raised the issue at a recent conference in Dublin opened by Minister for Disability Finian McGrath.
Speaking at the conference Mary said: “Many parents provide the mainstay of disability services and as they get older they deserve to have regular respite and a chance to relax.
“If this is not provided these carers are at risk and can become unwell as a result.”
Both Mary and David are “very enthusiastic” about the house that has been identified in Dundalk and believe “it is an opportunity not to be missed”.
“If we do not ensure that this house is brought into use as a respite facility for adults with intellectual disability then we are failing in our duty to these families,” said David.
“I urge anyone with influence to approach their local councillors and TDs and urge them to help us get this over the line.”