RESPITE SERVICE

Respite house is the 'first step' for disabled youngsters in Louth

€10 million in funding was ringfenced last December

Tia Clarke

Reporter:

Tia Clarke

Email:

tia.clarke@dundalkdemocrat.ie

Bower House Opening

Talbot Group CEO Laverne McGuinness, Jacinta Walsh, Patricia Whelehan General Manager from the HSE and Fergus O'Dowd TD at the Bower House opening in Balbriggan (Picture: Fintan Clarke)

A new respite service which will cater to young Louth adults who have an intellectual disability and/or autism and other complex needs was officially opened on Wednesday, April 12th.

Bower House, which is based in Balbriggan, is open to provide much-needed respite care services for disabled youths in Counties Louth, Meath and Dublin. The service will operate 363 days a year offering the potential for 2,178 respite bed nights.

The news comes as a result of the announcement in December of €10 million in funding to be ring-fenced for respite and disability services. 

Louth Fine Gael TD Fergus O'Dowd said: “I’m delighted that this long-term campaign has finally delivered an excellent outcome for the families most in need of respite in County Louth. 

“This is only the first step in addressing the major shortfall in respite services for County Louth, I hope to continue this vital work alongside my constituency colleagues and the HSE on delivering the much-needed support for families in the County.”

Fianna Fáil TD for Louth Declan Breathnach, who has been involved in campaigning for the rights of disabled youths and their carers welcomed the opening of the respite care facility said: “This is needed now more than ever following the closure of the respite places at St. Mary’s Drumcar.”

Local mum Tracy McGinnis, whose 13-year-old son Brendan has profound disabilities said: “I applaud any increase in respite facilities.

“However, there is still a dire shortage of overnight (and even day) respite centres around the country that cater to the profound care needs of children with severe physical disabilities. 

“In most of the country, this type of much-needed facility simply does not exist. As such, families caring for our most vulnerable children are left exhausted, without support and without the ability to recharge.”  

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