Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has called on the government to stop the closure of Cuisle, the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) holiday centre in Co. Roscommon and raised the issue with the Taoiseach in the Dáil today. The Sinn Féin TD said Ireland needs more disability friendly and accessible respite centres and we shouldn’t be closing the only one that currently exists for citizens with an impairment.

Deputy Seán Crowe TD said:

“I was very concerned to hear the news that Cuisle is due to be closed. It is currently the only venue that can adequately cater for a wide range of citizens who have an impairment or a disability

“People with profound needs and their carers need venues where they can take a break and have a respite in an inclusive space where they are not defined by or restricted by their impairment.

“The Minister responsible, Finian Mc Grath, has tried to justify the pending closure by suggesting that he wants people to use alternatives like hotels. This option doesn’t meet the needs of many of our citizens who need significant supports and medical care that even the most progressive hotels do not even attempt to supply.

“Regular hotels have improved accessibility, but they can’t cater for the range of needs that some citizens have. Cuisle is only venue that currently does that in this State.

“Concerned constituents have contacted me about the closure of Cuisle. They have told me that they need an accessible centre like Cuisle because it caters for a huge range of their medical and physical needs. They also told me that they enjoy trips to a centre like Cuisle where they feel included and where their impairment is not an issue. Unfortunately, all to often trips to regular hotels can cause many of them extra hardship and a huge amount of stress and worry.

“Simple things like getting in and out of bed, using the bathroom, or having a room for a carer next door is not always possible.

“The fact of the matter is that we need more holiday centres like Cuisle. We should be building more, not closing the only one we have.

“I raised the issue with the Taoiseach in the Dáil and I am calling on him to ensure the government urgently stops the closure of Cuisle and examines how we can ensure Ireland gets more of these disability inclusive friendly respite centres.

“Minister McGrath should employ the influence of his office to impress on the IWA and the HSE the importance of retaining Cuisle and setting in train the steps necessary to secure the funding required for whatever capital works are necessary, and a commitment to maintain the centre into the future.”