Declan Breathnach TD pictured at Leinster House
Fianna Fáil TD for Louth and East Meath Declan Breathnach says he is "disappointed" that Minister Finian McGrath is "not doing his duty" as Disabilities’ Minister in "dealing with the unacceptable delays in Assessment of Needs (AONs) to children with disabilities".
The Louth TD said: “My Fianna Fáil colleague and spokesperson on Disability Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony received fresh data from the HSE on the number of children waiting for an Assessment of Need which showed that 4242 AONs are now overdue.
“To make matters worse, over three quarters are now overdue by over three months. How is this acceptable? There is a statutory obligation on the HSE, under the 2005 Disability Act, to ensure that AONs take place within three months of an application being received.
“Minister McGrath may well share our concerns about this situation, but his delivery on this issue leads me to believe that he is not being forceful enough with his Fine Gael colleagues in Government."
The local TD continued: “While I accept that a new Standard Operating Procedure is being rolled out across the country, these delays are having a major impact on children and their families.
“Until children with disabilities receive their AON report, they are unable to receive the full therapeutic supports needed to enable them lead normal lives. However, waiting times for AONs continue to rise, and in our own HSE Primary Care Area Cho8 the number waiting on an assessment is 407 children.
“These waiting times are unacceptable and Minister McGrath must identify why assessments are not being completed on time and what additional resources are needed to reduce the waiting times for children and their families”.