The ‘Save Cuisle’ movement was given a timely boost ahead of Wednesday’s planned protest at Dáil Éireann following confirmation that the Irish Wheelchair Association will be called in front of the Dáil Health Committee in the coming weeks.
At Wednesday’s Dáil Committee meeting, Fianna Fáil Senator Keith Swanick, with support from local Oireachtas members, obtained an agreement to bring the association before it to explain how it intended to provide future respite care to service users.
Independent TD Denis Naughten welcomed the announcement.
“The Irish Wheelchair Association has not been prepared to meet with local TDs, so the only way to get public accountability for taxpayers’ money and hard-earned local fundraising put into Cuisle is to bring the organisation before the Health Committee,” he said.
“After the forthcoming meeting of the Health Committee with the Irish Wheelchair Association we will have to consider if this matter should then be referred to the Public Accounts Committee for further investigation”.
Cllr. Tony Waldron, who had lobbied Dr. Michael Harty, Chair of the Health Committee on the need for this action to be taken, extended thanks to Senator Keith Swanick. “I want to thank Senator Swanick, a Castlerea native, for all his help in making this possible”.
Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy confirmed that he has asked his colleague Marc McSharry, a member of the Public Accounts Committee, to request that the PAC examine the budget provided to the Irish Wheelchair Association through Minister Finian McGrath’s Department.
“The closure announcement in relation to Cuisle came as a shock and with a €39.4m budgetary allocation to IWA under Budget 2019, I believe it is appropriate for the PAC to invite IWA together with Minister McGrath’s officials to discuss the budget outturn against the backdrop of the shock closure of this centre”.