08 August 2008

No Money for dedicated Services for Children

A dedicated out-of-hours service for children will not be set up this year, due to a lack of government funding.
In a statement the Health Service Executive (HSE) said that it is "finalising plans to ensure that children can access emergency accommodation out of hours" and it "expects to bring proposals to the Minister for Children shortly".

Once again we are told straight into our faces that the government and its national health service has no money for the most vulnerable members of our society, while it seems not short of funds when it comes to internal corporate events and the payment of massive salaries for its managers.

Three weeks ago it emerged that a 15-year-old boy had to spend a night in a makeshift bed at Mallow garda station because HSE personnel were "not contactable".
What sort of a third-world banana republic are we, that social workers only work 9 to 5 Monday to Friday? Have we lost all sense for priorities and what it means to provide help and care for all those in need of it?

According to the (Junior) Minister for Children Barry Andrews (FF) the situation is "wholly unacceptable". Quite right, Mr. Andrews. But what are you - and your boss Mary Harney - doing about it? Obviously not much, if anything at all.
Since the government outsourced the health service by creating the HSE, many politicians seem to think that they can wash their hands over those problems and delegate them to the HSE, where they end unattended in a filing cabinet.

The HSE has confirmed reports that a dedicated out-of-hours service is - apparently - "not achievable in the current economic environment".

While plans are prepared to ensure that children have access to out-of-hours accommodation, the respected Association of Garda Sergeants & Inspectors (AGSI) described the situation as "an absolute disgrace" and called on the government to take control of the matter.

Meanwhile the trade union IMPACT, which represents social workers, said it is disappointed that the government does not seem prepared to fund a dedicated service for children.

Once again it appears as if Ireland's children have no lobby and no one in politics who really cares for them. Well, in a country that has substantially more golf courses than children's play grounds one should not be too surprised about that.

The Emerald Islander

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