Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has described the government’s performance and response on early intervention for children with special needs as abysmal.

The Sinn Féin TD raised the issue with the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, in the Dáil this week and told him about a constituent whose child will have to wait 52 months for supports

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“The programme for government contains a number of commitments regarding the concept of early intervention for children with special needs and the government is failing abysmally to meet these commitments.

“A constituent of mine recently received a letter from the HSE school age team in Dublin South West. This parent was told that it will be 52 months before their child is assessed for supports by the team.

“4 years and 4 months makes a nonsense of the idea of early intervention.

“Chamber House in Tallaght is missing a significant amount of key personnel. They are doing their best, but they lack staff and the waiting lists are getting longer. This understaffing has also made it a very unattractive place to work.

“I called on the Minister to speak to staff in Chamber House and to see how the missing personnel has completely broken the early intervention system.

“How can a government say it is committed to early intervention when there is a family in Dublin South West who will have to wait over 4 years for supports for their child. The child has profound needs and is non-verbal. It is a sad case, but I am increasingly seeing similar cases.

“The system is broken and it needs to be urgently fixed by government support and intervention. A first and logical step would be for the Minister to visit the area and talk directly to frontline staff and a sample of parents waiting years for supports for their vulnerable children.”