I am grateful for the opportunity to raise the appalling cases of young adults with physical and intellectual disabilities who are being denied services because of a lack of funding. I am referring in the main to Gheel Autism Services in Dublin 3, but I have also heard of cuts to services at St. Michael's House, Baldoyle, and other disability services nationally. I ask the Minister what exactly is going on. Where is all the talk of equality and social inclusion while services are being ripped apart? There may be no services for many of these physically and intellectually disabled young adults in September. Imagine TCD or UCD students were treated in such a manner. Imagine third level students were told in such a way that there would be no services for them in the autumn. There would, rightly, be uproar.
Today, we must focus on providing services at Gheel Autism Services in Fairview, Dublin 3. We seem to be able to find the money for increases for politicians and for increases in the pensions of former Ministers. In particular, I refer to a case that was notified to me by a parent. She wrote to me with regard to her daughter who has just graduated from St. Paul's special school for children with autism in Beaumont and who was listed to commence an adult placement in September with Gheel Autism Services in Fairview. A number of parents were called to a meeting with the director of Gheel Autism Services on Tuesday, 13 June. They were informed that due to insufficient funding from the HSE, Gheel Autism Services would be unable to offer placements to their children in September. He also said the board of Gheel Autism Services was not prepared to offer unsafe services to new clients. It is an impossible situation for that parent to leave her daughter at home to regress after all the progress that has been made. It is simply not an option. I ask the Minister to listen to the parents. There were 28 parents at the meeting to which I have referred and many of them are very upset and distressed. Another parent approached me who was affected by cuts to services at St. Michael's House, Baldoyle. That parent received notification of receiving a ten-day support service through July and August which is a total breach of an agreement that was made with parents. Last year, the parent received support services for over three weeks in July and for the second half of August, which amounted to approximately 40 days in total. That is a reduction of 66% in services. As such, the Minister must listen to these families very carefully.
The chief executive of Gheel Autism Services has responded to the HSE in relation to the insufficient funds allocated to meet needs and to ensure the service is in a financial position to provide quality, safe services for the sons and daughters of these families on a full-time basis. The timeframe of 1 September is incredibly tight to guarantee the commencement of day services. The service providers are saying they will endeavour to work towards this deadline but there are a number of confounding factors which must be considered. There is a further problem in that the rental market in Dublin is highly competitive currently. I urge the Minister to listen to these parents of young adults with intellectual and physical disabilities who deserve the services as a right.