I wish to share one minute of my time with Senator Martin Conway.
I had better first declare an interest in that my child has received a service from the group I am about to mention. I will not second-guess the Minister's reply, but I do not imagine we will receive any great news this evening.
The group is a parents' group and the Minister of State has met them in the past. I do not need notes to speak about what the group does. I am one of the people who raise €250,000 a year to provide services for 350 children in County Clare. The lady who set up the group, Ann Norton, will not mind me putting her name on record. I remember having an argument with her eight years ago and I said the day would come when we were all older and unable to do it any more. The children get older and require more support. Without the Clare Federation in County Clare supplying those services, Clare Early Intervention Services provides only 5% of the services and supports in County Clare.
We talk about value for money and I can guarantee that the Clare Crusaders are value for money. As we do not spend any money but fund-raise ourselves, the group must be good value for money. We do not get the same value for money from the Clare Early Intervention Services structure and we never will. The model does not work and I said as much eight years ago when it was set up under Deputy Micheál Martin. It was not going to work then and it will not work now.
I am very passionate about the children and the services they receive and the support we can give them. Last Thursday, my 21 year old child was swimming with the group in the Auburn Lodge Hotel. There were children from eight to 18 years and they have held onto our 21 year old, even though we said we would finish at 20 years of age. One of the two issues is the core funding needed to keep the group ticking over, which does not amount to €250,000. Between €50,000 and €100,000 will get them through this year. I ask the Minister of State to examine the new implementation framework and facilitate a meeting. Deputy Michael McNamara attended a meeting in Ennis and Senator Conway is part of the same Clare group. Local Deputies also attended. We would like to look at the model in County Clare. We do not want to turn it into the current service provider model. The Minister of State knows my views on the matter, which are that the model is too expensive and does not work. As parents, if we could set up a board of management and support the Government and the agencies and receive some support now, I would like us to be considered as a pilot group under the new implementation framework. Perhaps we can meet with the Minister of State and the representatives of the bodies involved to explain what the Clare Crusaders do.
If we are not able to continue tomorrow morning and if no one comes along to raise funds, Clare will become a disaster in respect of disability services. Even though I have been involved with the group since its inception, I was not aware that a real problem is the failure of the HSE in County Clare to inform the HSE in Limerick and the HSE nationally that the Clare Crusaders exists and provides services. Worst of all, the HSE refers clients to the Clare Crusaders, which is a voluntary group. I do not want the standard HSE reply. A root-and-branch investigation of the Clare Crusaders must be put in front of the Minister of State, the HSE and the steering group to show people what they do. The Minister of State will see absolute value for money. Perhaps Senator Martin Conway will add to that point. I can only speak as a parent and as a representative of the group.