My priority, as always, is the health and wellbeing of people with a disability.  I am very aware of the concerns which both service users and their families have concerning the decision of Irish Wheelchair Association to transition its holiday service from Cuisle to designated hotels in the west of Ireland.

Cuisle Accessible Holiday Resort is a commercial operation, run by the Irish Wheelchair Association, from which, I am informed, the HSE purchases respite breaks which are provided by way of a service arrangement. 

I met with IWA and HSE representatives on Tuesday 12th of November last, in order to obtain the necessary assurances that service users would be fully accommodated in respect of what is fundamentally the IWA’s plan for a progressive and innovative way to meet the needs of people with a disability that wish to avail of holiday respite breaks.

I believe in ‘people centred’ services and the IWA stressed to me that the clear choice and preference of people with a disability is increasingly more about having variety and choice with access to positive and non-segregated settings and where existing commercial hotel provider settings implement universal design initiatives to accommodate people of all levels of abilities. 

I am always available to meet again with the IWA and the HSE should the IWA wish to discuss any future proposals they may have.