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29th Jul 2022

11-year-old girl calls on Taoiseach for improved disability services

Ellen Fitzpatrick

She spoke on behalf of her family.

An 11 year old girl has called on the Taoiseach for urgent action in relation to the provision of services for children with disabilities.

Speaking to Micheal Martin, Cara Darmody held a meeting with the Taoiseach for over an hour, speaking of the difficulties she and her family have faced, RTE reports.

Explaining how her two younger brothers Neil and John have autism, only Neil has received services while John has not and her family have already seen differences between the two boys.

Cara has asked the Taoiseach to treat her family’s situation as if “the house is on fire”.

Cara made headlines recently after she sat the Junior Certificate Maths exam as a way of raising awareness of the situation her family and many others in Ireland are in.

Her dad, Mark, said the waiting time for families to access an Assessment of Need (AON) is taking years.

A further issue when it comes to AON is that once it is conducted, access to the required services is also taking years, he added.

Mark noted that there was progress made in the meeting with Martin but added that amount of time given to the family by the Taoiseach was far greater than they had expected.

Warning that “talk is cheap”, the family are set to continue their campaign until real change is made for families like his.

The Taoiseach tweeted about the meeting yesterday, saying it was a “great privilege to meet Cara Darmody with her parents today”.

He also thanked Cara for her “powerful and passionate advocacy on behalf of her two younger brothers, and for children with autism and special needs”.