Minister Anne Rabbitte

  • The Government has today announced a €7.8 million initiative to clear the backlog of thousands of children waiting for assessments for autism and other conditions.

    The HSE recently revealed that the average waiting time was 19 months - although parents say it's taking more than 3 years in some areas- despite a legal requirement for the assessment to be completed within 6 months.

    The allocation of additional funding today will allow clinicians to work overtime at weekends and evening, as well as filling posts currently vacant due to maternity leave, and procuring private assessments.

    Without an assessment of need, children are unable to access supports such as therapists and psychologists.

    €159,000 of this funding is being allocated to the Mayo, Galway, Roscommon area towards alleviating the waiting lists.

    Minister of State with responsibility for Disability, Galway East TD Anne Rabbitte, says today's funding is targeted at children and families who are currently experiencing long waiting times for an Assessment of Need, and will ensure they're able to access follow-up services quicker.


  • The rollout of the Covid vaccinations for the over 85s in the community is now underway, and according to Galway based Minister Anne Rabbitte, 16,000 will receive their first jab this week.

    The Minister of State at the Department of Children, Disability, Equality and Integration   has confirmed that the Podiatry Unit in Merlin Park, Galway will be the site for the GP Vaccination Clinic for patients of 13 smaller GP practices across county Galway and the practices in question will be notified this week.

    While vaccinations for all people over the age of 85 is nationally underway from today, they will be followed by 80-85 year olds, 75-80 year olds  and then 70-75 year olds.

    The Merlin park venue has already been used for the vaccination of GP’s and practice teams with second doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines being administered there over the weekend.

    Minister Rabbitte told Midwest News today that transport will be made available for those who will require it to get to a vaccination centre

    All GP Practices that have over 200 people over the age of 70 will also begin their vaccination roll out this week and patients will be informed in due course.

    Minister Rabbitte has been speaking to Midwest News Editor Teresa O’Malley about the operation now underway.



  • The Minister for Disability, Galway based Anne Rabbitte  insists she is continuing to advocate for vaccine prioritization for teachers, childcare assistants and SNAs in Special Schools and classes.

    She admits she was taken aback by NIAC advice to government last week to remove this cohort of what she describes as “frontline workers” from a prioritised vaccine rollout programme, and instead revert to age in terms of priority.

    Nonetheless, she says there is strong scientific advice that Covid 19, particularly some of the new strains of the virus, pose the greatest threat to older rather than younger people.

    She has described the updated vaccine rollout programme as “fluid”, and insists she will continue to make a strong case for teachers, SNAs and childcare assistants in special schools and classes.

    Minister Rabbitte recgonises these workers as “frontline”, as she told Midwest News Editor Teresa O’Malley..



  • Special schools will reopen on February 11th after agreement was reached between teachers unions and the Department of Education.

    Special classes in mainstream schools will also resume 11 days later on February 22nd.

    Attendances will be initially limited to 50 percent, and there will be enhanced safety measures like PPE and around class sizes.

    Minister of State for Disabilities, Anne Rabbitte, says it's welcome news: