Officials that drag children with disabilities through the courts “should do so at own expense” – Carthy tells Dáil
Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has hit out at the attitude of those senior officials within the HSE that have “dragged the families of children with disabilities through the courts”. He said those families who went to court did so in order to secure rights that are laid down in legislation. He called on the Minister for Health to demand that, in future, should officials wish to legally challenge those families, that they should do so at their own costs.
Deputy Carthy was speaking in the Dáil on a Sinn Féin Private Members motion on Childrens’ Disability Services which included a demand that government adhere to the provisions of the Disability Act. The motion was moved by Deputy Carthy’s Cavan Monaghan colleague, Pauline Tully.
Teachta Carthy said:
“I commend Deputy Pauline Tully on her tenacity on this issue and on her representation of those tens of thousands of families who want nothing more than what their child is entitled to.
“The High Court has ruled that the HSE’s AON process is operating outside the law and denying children with disabilities their rights, as set out in the Disability Act.
“Let that sink in for us all. That an Opposition party is introducing a Private Members’ motion that essentially asks the Government to stop breaking the law, stop allowing an agency under its control to break the law, and stop denying children their rights.
“I do not doubt the sincerity of the Minister or Minister of State on this issue. But the crux is accountability.
“HSE representatives appeared before the Joint Committee on Children where Deputies Pauline Tully and David Cullinane engaged with them. The officials were asked what they needed and their answer was that we should actually scrap the little protection that our children with disabilities have – the legal provision. As the person responsible and approved by this House to oversee our health services, the Minister should drag those officials in and threaten them with their jobs unless their attitude changes.
“If I am correct, the Minister ‘noted’ the remarks of the head of the HSE on a potential appeal of the High Court ruling. I suggest that he tells the CEO of the HSE that if he wants to appeal the ruling, the cost can be met from his wages.
“I suggest that the Minister, as overseer of the Department that gives the HSE its budget, tells the CEO and every senior manager in the HSE that the next time they decide to drag family a child with a disability through the courts, they can do so at their own expense.
“Because they do not have the authority of this House to spend the money of the taxpayers of Ireland to drag families of children with disabilities through the quagmire of the legal system.
“The message from this House should be unanimous, clear and heeded by the HSE. It should stop breaking the law and treating children with disabilities with disrespect and start providing them with their rights and entitlements under the Disability Act and the services they deserve”.