Sean McMahon in Cootehill
A protest will be staged in Monaghan in January in reaction to the perceived inadequate respite accommodation in the region for approximately 100 families and their children with disabilities.
Then issue was described “as an attack on vulnerable people” at a public meeting in Cootehill last Tuesday night.
There are only three centres across Cavan and Monaghan delivering these services. One of those is the Annalee View Respite Care Centre in Cootehill. While regarded as a fine facility, it has just five places and is struggling to cope with the demand.
Respite services at Annalee were recently restricted due to the needs of one person.
However, managers of the centre say that the restriction is now lifted and the service has returned to normal capacity.
The meeting was chaired by long-term campaigner, Jennie Farrelly.
She was flanked at the top table in St Michael’s Hall by Niamh Brannigan and Catherine McBreen.
Their new group is called ‘Parents Action Group for Respite Services’.
It was decided at the meeting to mount a protest at the entrance to St Davnet’s Hospital site at Rooskey, Monaghan, on Friday morning, January 4, 2019, at 11am to further highlight their position.
There was no shortage of audience participation at the meeting, as parent after parent expressed their exasperation at the inadequate provision of respite places. They also spoke about the urgent requirement for additional centres. The fact that parents are suffering from anxiety and other illnesses due to lack of support was also raised by various speakers.
There is, they say, an urgent necessity for a residential centre that would be equipped to deal with crisis situations and challenging behaviour.
Ms Farrelly told the meeting that the staff at the Annalee Respite Centre do a fantastic job.
“This crisis situation is not the first to arise, nor will it be the last,” she said, adding that “things have got to change”.
HSE representatives have agreed to meet with representatives from the Parents Action Group in the New Year to discuss the issue.