Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Funding cuts to Sunbeam House Services are callous and designed to hurt

Sinn Féin councillor John Brady has slammed a funding cut by the HSE to Sunbeam House Services in Bray as callous and designed to inflict the most pain on the most vulnerable in society. The cut of €189,461 was imposed on Sunbeam House Services in August and has resulted in the immediate withdrawal of transport services to and from Sunbeam for clients.

Speaking after meeting with some of the effected families Cllr John Brady said "I am truly shocked that the HSE who are acting at the behest of Fine Gael and Labour could be so callous by imposing a funding cut of €189,461 to Sunbeam House Services in Bray. The cut is clearly designed to inflict maxium hurt and pain by being imposed at the latter end of the financial year, this huge cut is on top of a 2% cut that was imposed at the beginning of the year. Sunbeam House Services provide an excellent service for people with intellectual disabilities, they are based in Bray and service users attend from right across Wicklow."

Cllr Brady continued "Sunbeam Services had been given no prior notification of the cuts and they were only discovered on 14 August. Unfortunately Sunbeam House Services had to put in place cost saving measures that will meet the additional €189,461 cuts before the end of the year. These cuts unfortunately include the curtailment in transport services in the North Wicklow area along with limiting of trips for clients. Letters have been issued to service users informing them of the unfortunate cuts that had to be made by Sunbeam House Services to protect direct service provision. I have spoken to a number of families that will be directly impacted by this unprecedented action and they are still reeling from the shock and still trying to come to terms and are trying to put in place alternative arrangements. The cut to transport will immediately effect 44 service users from the Greystones, Delgany and Bray areas."

"I brought this very serious attack on people with disabilities up at Mondays Wicklow County Council meeting. I proposed a motion slamming the cuts and demanding their reversal, the motion was broadly supported. The council is also writing to the Labour Minister for Disabilities Kathleen Lynch and to the Fine Gael Minister for Health James Reilly. The letter will outline the serious concerns of the council about the cuts and the impact it will have on the sector. The letter will demand that the funding is restored to ensure Sunbeam House Services can continue their excellent work and that there are no further cuts. A request for a representative from the HSE to attend a council meeting is also to be issued."

Cllr Brady concluded "People with disabilities and those who work in the disability sector are genuinely fearful what the future holds for them. With these callous cuts people know only too well the impact they will have. A government has to be judged by how they threat the most vulnerable in society and these cuts show clearly what the government think of its citizens and these huge cuts speak volumes. These cuts will only serve to ensure the daily struggle endured by those with a disability continues to get harder, these cuts need to be reversed immediately."

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