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Green MEP says closure of disability services has created uncertainty for her family

This post is from an article in the Irish Examiner on 09/07/2020:

A Green Party MEP has said her daughter, who has intellectual and physical disabilities, is struggling because of the closure of facilities she would normally attend due to Covid-19.

Grace O’Sullivan, who was elected to the European Parliament for the first time in 2019, said her 29-year-old daughter has been negatively affected by the closures.

“She attends the day service at the Brothers of Charity in Tramore in Co Waterford. It’s very well structured and it [runs] Monday to Friday,” she said.

“So that was just gone. That is disturbing for her… For many weeks we had no certainty whatsoever as to when these services will open and we are still in that situation right now.”

Ms O’Sullivan’s comments come after a report from disability rights charity Inclusion Ireland revealed the effect of the shutdown of adult day services on people with intellectual disabilities and their families.

The service quality in the months since the Covid-19 shutdown has been variable, a survey of 300 family members and 55 people with intellectual disabilities carried out by the charity found.

While some people reported regular contact, daily online activities and some face-to-face support, more than half (54%) of those who took part in the survey had little to no contact from the service supporting them since March.

Almost 40% of those who took part in the survey reported increased challenging behaviour, and one third reported increased anxiety. For 55% of people with an intellectual disability, loneliness became a significant issue when these services closed their doors.

The European Parliament has called on EU countries to ensure equal access to healthcare and social services for people with intellectual disabilities during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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