Minister Finian McGrath T.D. has strongly criticised the comments of Catherine Noone.  “They were ill-informed and extremely damaging to a section of Irish society”, said Minister McGrath.  “People with Autism are a part of Irish society and should always be treated as equals in line with the U. N. Convention for the Rights of Persons with a Disability”, said McGrath.  “The Taoiseach has always been a strong supporter of people with a disability and in fact I would not have delivered the 2020 Social Care Disability Service Plan 2020 of €2,049.5 million, that’s an increase of €133.7 million (7%) on 2019, the 12 new respite houses, 1.67 million Personal Assistant (P.A.) hours and the Autism Plan without the great support of the Taoiseach”, said Finian.

“He supported me on all disability issues in Cabinet especially in the difficult times”, said the Minister.

As an Independent, I needed that support to get major projects over the line.  I accept Ms Noone’s apology but we will need to focus on our new Autism Plan which will deliver an awareness raising campaign, a National training programme for clinicians and improvements to the assessment process.  All politicians should read and support this.  Then we all win.