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Cruel cuts leave 80 Galway special needs children in limbo



School leavers with disabilities have been left in limbo due to cuts to health services nationwide.

At least 77 school leavers in Galway are waiting to be accommodated in either in day centres or training courses and the Brothers of Charity are in discussions with 13 families who they cannot accommodate due to lack of funding.

The announcement by the Minister of State with responsibility for disabilities, Kathleen Lynch, last week has shocked families who had no inkling health cuts were going to affect them so drastically.

Hope 4 Disability, the Galway-based disability group, has hit out at what they have called a “cruel and callous” decision.

A 1.2% deduction in the disability budget was negotiated with and approved by the Government on the basis that there would be no overall reduction of disability services but Minister Lynch, in a letter to Galway parents, has admitted that some users will be left without places on any training scheme.

Eamon Walsh, Chairman of Hope 4 Disability said that “such a situation is unthinkable for families”.

“The reality for the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and their families is shocking. The burden of support will be so great that families and service providers will not be able to cope; to even contemplate the curtailment of the most basic of supports for most families, it is unbelieveable and borders on the immoral and to leave it to almost the middle of August to make this statement is unforgiveable.”

This year, over 80 children with intellectual disabilities will graduate from school services and are then reliant on funding and support from the HSE.

Hope 4 Disability is calling on the Minister and all public representatives to address the situation.

Meanwhile, the Brothers of Charity, who have a deficit of €9 million because of budget cuts over the past five years, are trying to find resources to accommodate 13 school leavers with intellectual disabilities, in further training courses or for the more severly disabled school leavers, in day care.

The Brothers estimate it would need €419,000 to provide this service, which would give the users day care five day a week.

Deputy Colm Keaveney said that unlike bus drivers, these parents cannot go on strike as it was a full-time commitment and should be given every consideration and support by the State.

“The Government is cynically trading on the fact that families cannot leave their disabled children uncared for while they protest in Dublin. As with mental health services, another area of our health services struggling in this crisis, the Government believes that residual stigma surrounding both will lessen the capacity of such groups to resist cuts.

“This Government has continuously failed to appreciate that disability services are not a charity to be cut back when times are tough. They are in fact a human rights issue. A change in mindset in this regard is urgently needed,” he said.

He said it was incumbent on elected representatives to take a stand to secure a life of dignity for their children. He also said the HSE had failed to support these families.

Connacht Tribune

Progress stalls on setting up Eating Disorder Community Health Team



Despite an increasing number of young people experiencing eating disorders, a new specialist community team has yet to be set up in Galway well over a year after it was announced.

The delay is mainly due to a difficulty recruiting a consultant psychiatrist to lead the team, this week’s HSE West Regional Health Forum meeting was told.

Councillor John Connolly (FF) queried the progress on the new Eating Disorder Community Health Team within the Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) after the HSE revealed in September 2021 that it would be set up in response to the hike in youths presenting for treatment.

Chief Officer of HSE Community Healthcare West, Breda Crehan-Roche, said interviews had been conducted to recruit a clinical lead, but so far none had been appointed. Six other staff had been appointed and these had been assigned to existing teams within CAMHS while a psychiatrist could come on board to manage the team.

“We have difficulty getting locum cover. Interviews were held. It’s a priority. We are doing a running recruitment process,” she told this month’s meeting.

It took between six and nine months to appoint a person to such a senior post.

“There is a lot of work in specialist intervention in the eating disorders team.”

She admitted that there were no records of how much of an increase there had been in referrals to CAMHS Galway for youths troubled by an eating disorder as all records were on paper rather than on computer.

“I can’t ask clinicians and therapists to pull together manual figures,” she stated. But the indication from staff on the ground was that there had been a downward trend in referrals post-Covid.

There was a move to keeping digital records by the middle of next year.

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Connacht Tribune

Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan dies aged 78



Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan has passed away at the age of 78.

Born in Kilkenny in 1944, Bishop Drennan studied for the priesthood at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth from where he was ordained in 1968

As a priest, the then Fr Drennan served as curate in both St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish in Kilkenny and then in Ballycallan.

From 1975 he taught Sacred Scripture at St. Kieran’s College, returning to Rome in 1980 to become Spiritual Director at the Irish College there for the next five years.

When Fr. Martin again returned home he became a Lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth where he continued to teach until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin in 1997.

Following the retirement of Bishop James McLoughlin, Bishop Drennan was chosen as Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora and was installed on 3rd July 2005 in Galway Cathedral serving to his retirement in 2016.

A brief statement released by the Diocese of Galway this afternoon confirmed his passing and offered their sympathies to Bishop Drennan’s family and all those who mourn his loss.

Funeral arrangements for the late Bishop Drennan will be announced later

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Connacht Tribune

Gardaí appeal for help to locate missing man



Gardaí are seeking help from the public in locating a 66-year-old man who has been missing from Clonbur since Thursday.

Michael Harte is described as being 5’ 9” in height, of slim build with short grey hair. When last seen, he was wearing blue jeans, a blue jumper, a tan / khaki padded jacket and tan boots.

He is understood to have access to a black Renault Megane with a 02 C registration.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Clifden Garda Station on 095 2250,  the Garda confidential line on 1800 666111 or any Garda station.

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