Dáil Éireann - Volume 483 - 25 November, 1997
Written Answers. - Mental Handicap Services.
Mr. Ferris Mr. Ferris
232. Mr. Ferris asked the Minister for Health and Children if his attention has been drawn to the widespread anger and concern expressed by the parents of children attending two schools and a day care centre (details supplied) in County Tipperary at the lack of proper funding in the 1998 Estimates to continue and improve speech and language therapy, physiotherapy, sensory integrationalist, occupational therapy, psychological and psychiatric services, for 1998; if his attention has been drawn to the vital importance of these services to the families concerned, the excellent quality of service already being provided on a restricted budget and the urgent need to have adequate funding available in a period of economic boom; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20585/97]
Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Cowen) Brian Cowen
Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Cowen): As the Deputy will be aware, the provision of services, including those referred to by the Deputy, to persons with a mental handicap in the South Tipperary region is the responsibiity of the South Eastern Health Board. I understand that the board has discussed, with voluntary groups and service providers concerned with the services referred to by the Deputy, the question of the  provision of an enhanced level of multi disciplinary professional support for children with a mental handicap. In recognition of the importance of these services in maximising the children's full potential, the board has assured me that the enhancement of these services generally in the area has been identified as a priority by the Regional Mental Handicap Co-ordinating Committee. This will be considered in the context of any additional funding which may be made available for services to persons with a mental handicap in 1998.
I also understand that my colleague, the Minister for Education, has established a planning group to produce proposals for a national educational psychology service which is expected to submit its report early next year. The establishment of this service will also assist the level of support available to children with special needs.
The Government's commitment to the ongoing development of services to persons with mental handicap is clearly outlined in An Action Programme for the Millennium.
Dáil Éireann 483 Written Answers. Mental Handicap Services.