The Regional Group of TDs, which includes Galway’s Seán Canney, Denis Naughten, and Noel Grealish, have welcomed progress on a bill to improve rights and services for people with autism.
The private members Autism Spectrum Disorder Bill 2017 has passed its second stage at the Dáil, and will now progress to the committee stage.
Regional Group members have said that the government should not impose any delays on the passage of this bill.
This Bill seeks to develop and implement a cross-department, multi-agency strategy to provide and implement services for autistic people.
The Regional Group of TDs continue to highlight that autism is not a health issue but a human rights issue.
“Regional group members state that no strategy has been put in place since the European Commission approved the Charter of Rights for People with Autism in 1996.”
“The Charter states that autistic people should have the same rights enjoyed by all EU citizens and these rights should be enforced by legislation. This has yet to happen in Ireland”.
The TDs said that the annual cost to a family of a child with autism is €28,000 worth of private services, lost income, and informal care.
In the long run, it will cost the state more to do nothing, the group said.
“Service provision for autistic people should not be discretionary, it should be a right protected in our legislation.”
“Financial pressure is acutely felt by families who assume full-time caring roles for their autistic children, reporting that existing social welfare payments are insufficient to cover the costs of therapy and additional support.”