LAUNCH OF NEW PARENTS AND FRIENDS WEBSITE IS A “SIGNIFICANT MILESTONE”

18 November 2016 No Comments by The Northern Standard

By MICHAEL McDONNELL
michael@northern-standard.ie

SATURDAY LAST, 12th November, was a red-letter day in the history of the Monaghan Branch of Parents and Friends of Persons with an Intellectual Disability, which launched its website and Facebook page at an event where Minister of State for Disability Issues, Finian McGrath TD, gave assurances of his own determination to keep improving the services available to those with special needs and their parents and carers.

The launch of the attractive new website — parentandfriends.ie — took place at a well-attended, upbeat event in the spacious sporting hall of the very impressive Peace Link in Clones. Minister McGrath said it marked a “significant milestone” for all involved with special needs care in Monaghan and Cavan, and he told those present that he wanted to get the views of people on the ground before new plans to improve the services were put in place.

Other speakers included long-standing Parents and Friends representatives Joe Dirwan and Paul McGlade, parents of children with special needs Marie Murphy and Joe Duffy (who each made strong points about how families can be affected), Damien Murphy of Monaghan Citizens Information Centre and Kevin Carragher of the HSE.

Mr McGrath, who is a “super junior” minister that sits at cabinet but does not have a vote, told the Northern Standard he would be doing all he could to ensure that people with intellectual and physical disabilities would get their “share of the pot”, at a time when other sectors, including the public service unions, were all demanding more money. There would be no “rolling over” by him, as vulnerable people who had been “hammered” throughout the recession had to be protected.

While addressing website launch, he said Ireland had embarked on an “era of unprecedented change in services” for people with intellectual disabilities, which included moving them into supported residential homes rather than the institutional settings in which they were accommodated for many decades. On that basis he praised Parents and Friends in Monaghan, now 50 years in existence, for the pioneering work that had resulted in both Cavan and Monaghan becoming fully “decongregated” from the old institutional …
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