Inclusion Ireland meeting with Minister for Health Simon Harris, TD on June 3rd

Inclusion Ireland explained the worry people with disabilities and their families have in relation to the lack of information on COVID-19 in disability services. The following information on Covid 19 cases in residential services for people with disabilities was provided.

  • 650 people have been reported with COVID symptoms; 430 are lab confirmed cases
  • 57% of cases are staff and 43% residents
  • Sadly 14 people have died as a result of COVID
  • There has been 108 outbreaks in residential centres. 27 of this number are now COVID free for 28 days or more.
  • 75% of residential centres have had no cases at all

We told the Minister how the virtual closure of day services was impacting on people with disabilities and their families. We also said how a special COVID fund should be given to allow as many people attend for as many hours as possible, in a safe manner once services begin to open. Services will begin to open in line with the Government roadmap and that the Department acknowledged the additional costs and are working on this. A previous 1% efficiency saving cut to service provider budgets will be taken off the table.

While the Department of Education and Skills are responsible for the extended school year (July Provision), the Minister said his Department has a summer scheme almost complete in planning and this will be communicated as soon as is possible to families. This will be a day respite, activity type scheme to run alongside the traditional July Provision and aims to assist young people re-engage in the school setting. We have asked for this to be made available to all children with intellectual disabilities and not the narrow scope of July Provision.