In a statement this afternoon, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, condemned the Tanaiste for misleading the house during Leaders Questions when Deputy Boyd Barrett raised the issue of cuts to Respite Care Services at Carmona House in Glenageary.
Deputy Boyd Barrett asked the Tanaiste for a commitment that cuts to the Angels Quest respite care service would not go ahead. Angels Quest has been providing 24/7 care services for children with intellectual disabilities for the last 12 years. Due to budget cuts from the HSE and the on-going moratorium on recruitment St John of Gods, who run the service, are set to reduce the 24/7 and emergency service to 2.30 – 6.30 Mon –Thurs and all weekend.
The Tanaiste made no commitment to reverse the cuts and in his response to Deputy Boyd Barrett he claimed that Carmona Services had offered to meet the families affected and that this offer had not been taken up. Minister Gilmore also quoted an e mail that he claimed came from someone “associated with Deputy Boyd Barrett”.
Both of these assertions are untrue and represent an apparently deliberate misrepresentation of the facts and particularly of the engagement of the families with Carmona Services.
Representatives of the 140 families and their children in wheelchairs were in the Dail Gallery for the debate. They confirmed that they had been offered a meeting by e mail at 4.30pm yesterday – an offer they had accepted 2 hours later. The families were also extremely insulted that the e mail that one of their group had written to the director of services at Carmona House was read out in the dail and attributed by the Tanaiste to somebody “associated with Deputy Boyd Barrett”.
The families and users of the Angels Quest Service are not “associated” with Deputy Boyd Barrett, they are a new group called Angels Quest Childrens Group, set up to ensure that the service is not cut.
This is a fact that was known by Deputy Gilmore as he had been contacted by this group last week before they had ever met Richard Boyd Barrett, who met them for the first time on Monday of this week.
“Such dishonesty and distortion of the facts in the Dail, by the Tanaiste particularly in relation to vulnerable families and their children is ttruly outrageous. It’s one thing to take political pot shots at another TD or at the opposition but to deliberately misrepresent the position of ordinary citizens who are doing their best to protect their children.”