• The Minister for Health is being asked to intervene in the case of a Co Roscommon boy with autism, who may have to wait four years to avail of services.

    Roscommon-Galway Fianna Fail TD Eugene Murphy says the 7-year old boy from north Roscommon is currently in 193rd place on a waiting list for the autism service at the Primary Care Centre in Athenry, and it could be up to four years before he receives treatment.

    Deputy Murphy is calling on Minister Simon Harris to intervene on this boy's behalf, describing the waiting time as "cruel and shameful"

  • The HSE executive has agreed to meet with Galway Oireachtas members and HSE West Forum members to address a crisis in funding to services for young people with autism in Galway.

    At this week’s HSE West forum meeting in Merlin Park, Headford based Fianna Fail Councillor Mary Hoade made a strong case for the service, known as GAP, (Galway Autism Partnership) that is located in Newcastle. She said she had attended a public meeting on the crisis earlier this week in the city, and the service that is used by more than 200 individuals with autism looks set to close down if funding of 75,000 euro cannot be secured.

    HSE Chief Officer for Communities Tony Canavan explained that all voluntary agencies are funded through Section 38 / 39 Service level or Grant Aid Agreements. He acknowledged the value of the service provided by GAP, and he said the organisaton had received some funding in 2017 but added that resources can only be allocated on the basis of funding available to the HSE.

    Nonetheless,  due to the funding crisis that has now occurred for the group, he said he was willing to meet with Oireachtas members locally to see if additional funding could be found.

  • Funding of over €43,000 has been allocated to provide sensory facilities and equipment in Castlebar and Ballina libraries.

    The Mayo-based Minister for Rural & Community Development Michael Ring has allocated the funding to assist people with sensory impairments, special educational needs and other learning differences, including those on the Autism spectrum.

    This part of a national investment of almost €700,000 for facilities which can include sensory library rooms, sensory toys and play equipment, assistive technologies, autism-friendly signage, books and social stories.

    Minister Ring says he wants people living with autism or learning differences to see libraries as a safe and welcoming space for them and their families, and says they're working to ensure that library services are inclusive and accessible for all.

    He says Castlebar Library will work closely with Castlebar Autism Friendly Committee, Mayo Autism Camp, local special needs schools and SNA's in ensuring the local community derives maximum benefit from the new facilities.

    Likewise, Ballina Library will work with the Ballina Autism Support Group, the Newman Institute, Shore Farm Pony Therapy and a number of local schools.