Donegal Sinn Féin Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has said that he finds it utterly unacceptable that after all the debate and all the promises made by the government in 2017 to improve and increase respite care that less respite care is being provided in Donegal so far in 2018 compared to last year.

Senator Mac Lochlainn said: “Respite care is one of the most important services provided by the health service. Those who avail of respite services will tell you that it is precious in providing their loved one and their family with much needed rest.

“It is utterly unacceptable that despite rising requests and need that less respite care is being provided this year compared to last year.

“Figures released to Sinn Féin show that the number of overnight respite sessions accessed by people with a disability in Donegal fell by 434 sessions in the first half of this year, compared with the same period in 2017. (1334 in Mid 2017 down to 900 in Mid 2018). The number of daytime sessions are also down.

“This situation is completely unacceptable. When provision is cut or reduced it has serious real life implications for families.

“These respite sessions provide respite and relief to parents and families who have a person in the household with a disability; they are some of the hardest pressed and struggling families in the county, and the evidence shows that this government is failing them.

“We need to see year on year increases and investment in respite services in order to provide for currently unmet need and future need. You cannot provide less respite to the tune of hundreds of hours and expect families who need it not to suffer.

“The cutting of these respite sessions has real life implications for families in Donegal and it has to be reversed as a matter of urgency.”

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