Vicky Matthew (left) outside the Dáil with fellow protestor Linda Abernathy
A Donegal disability rights campaigner says people with disabilities across Donegal are in fear of having services cut.
Vicky Matthew fears that her personal assistant care service will be cut following a review which is due to be carried out. She says other people with disabilities who depend on services also fear imminent cuts.
The Ballyshannon woman, who successfully campaigned to have a wheelchair accessible bus put on her local route, joined a protest outside Dáil Eireann this week to demand more homecare packages and respite hours for people with disabilities.
The wheelchair user depends on 11 and a quarter hours of personal care which is funded by the HSE and provided by the Donegal Independent Living Centre.
She said she has been told by the HSE that her personal assistant care is under review and she fears the hours may be cut at a time when she hoped to have them increased as she hopes to take up a course at Sligo Institute of Technology in September.
“I need the PA as it allows me to be independent and helps me cope with day to day activities,” she said.
“I fear that it will be cut. I am waiting to be reviewed and I have received a phone call asking could they come out to review my hours of personal assistant care. Loads of people across Donegal are being reviewed and a lot of the time when they are reviewed the services are cut.”
Ms Mattthew said the personal assistant hours provide her with personal care that includes housework, meal preparation, shopping, attending medical appointments, and visiting her local leisure centre.
“It would have a major impact one me. For example, if I have more housework to do then I have more pain, which means I have to take more medication which means I have to rest more. I am planning to go to Sligo IT in September and I’m looking for an increase in hours.”
At the protest outside the Dáil she said she was delighted with the response she received from TDs and senators.
“I was able to speak with most of them and raise my voice not just for home care packages and respite but for PA hours, care of our elderly, home help hours, respite, special schools, and disability services. These are facing cuts due to the HSE having to make €80 million in cuts this year which will affect all of these services.”