Finian McGrath TD, Minister of State with special responsibility for Disabilities, today announced where new respite facilities will be located nationally to support people with disabilities and their families.

The Minister said, “This Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. We are particularly committed to providing a range of accessible respite care supports for people with a disability, and their families.

I am acutely aware of the pressure on carers of people with disabilities who are often under tremendous strain to keep going. That is why I sought and secured an additional €10m for this year, to specifically enhance respite services. 

I hope that the opening of the twelve new houses will enable carers to get a well-deserved break and to maintain their own health and wellbeing. At the beginning of this year I requested that the HSE give the utmost priority to putting these new facilities and services in place without delay and to provide me with regular reports so I could ensure this additional funding is directly targeted at the people who need it most. I want to acknowledge the progress that the HSE has made to deliver this important additional capacity that is being tailored and targeted to maximise a response to local need.

I am delighted to announce today where each new house will be located, where additional capacity will be provided, as well as additional innovative respite solutions. These alternative solutions include home respite, Saturday and evening clubs, summer camps and many other flexible, family and child centred respite options. An extra 250 people will benefit from this type of respite break in 2018. We all need a break, and I hope that this range of initiatives will help families and be a valuable social outlet to service users across the country.

There will be new or additional capacity in each HSE Community Health Organisation, meaning that at a minimum 11,000 respite nights will be provided this year, moving to 19,000 in a full year. This will support 800 individuals in a full year, when all houses are in operation. 

Many of the additional services will be operational by the end of June, with facilities already operating in Kerry, the Midlands and North County Dublin.”