Monday, December 11, 2017


Re-location, re-shuffle, re-institutionalisation?

National housing policy for people with disabilities promotes the move from large residential settings to community-based living (with four people the recommended maximum number sharing the same residence).

The fight for residential accommodation for the disabled – My story

Our story begins in June 2012. At the time, I was 25 years old and my brother John was 22 years old. We lost our mother three years previously and now we had just lost our father. Our father’s death was sudden and we were completely unprepared. My brother John has an intellectual disability and had been living in the family home with my father as his carer.

Housing Stories

I feel like I would be better off outside of the area. I don’t feel safe in the area because there are some dangerous people there. There were threats being made, and the guards investigated and they asked if there were more threats afterwards. Two weeks later there were more threats made towards me. I said to the social worker “if you can get me out of the area I would be prepared to move anywhere”.


As a parent cuddling my new baby, ‘respite’ was never a term or an idea that entered my head. To be honest, I had no real understanding of what that term entailed or would later come to mean in my daughter’s life, and mine. When Tess was born, I dreamed of my daughter growing up and all the typical girly adventures she would have and how nice it was that she had a sister to share all these moments with—school, boyfriends, weddings, babies—the list in my head was endless. Then, two and a half years later, without welcome or warning, came the diagnosis of autism.


Respite is not an additional service that can be seen as an ‘add.on’ or a luxury for people with a disability and their families –it an essential part of an overall service being provided. The needs of children and adults with disabilities vary greatly according to each individual, so the idea that a general figure of €1700 could possibly...

Supporting Families

The Respite Supports project was set up in September 2006. It began as a pilot project and was a result of a need identified by the HSE for residential places. The project is run by the Muiríosa Foundation (formerly the Sisters of Charity of Jesus & Mary) in conjunction with the HSE. It provides support to 22 people with...

From Volunteer to Professional Respite: an emerging trend in short break services

There is a growing international trend in favour of professionalising hitherto volunteer-run, family-based short-break services for people with intellectual disability (ID). This movement towards providing professional ‘respite’ is gaining support in Ireland also. Its success will probably depend on whether, or not, it can minimise the real risk of alienating the hundreds of volunteer hosts who currently make up...


Parents do not expect the state or society to take over their responsibilities. They are prepared to make whatever sacrifices are necessary, but with the best will in the world they cannot do it from beyond the grave. (Quote from a carer, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, 1997) Introduction The birth of a child with a learning disability may...


Introduction Respite care has been defined as a family support that provides temporary relief from the rigorous physical and emotional demands involved in caring for a family member with a disability (Botucks and Winsberg 1991). Caring for an individual with a disability in the family has a major impact on family life, affecting it in all physical, social and emotional...


It seems that respite care is throwing off its Cinderella rags at last and becoming a real service; there’s a lot more money around for it. One of the first signs of change is dissatisfaction with the name--a bit medical, a bit utilitarian--so if you can think of a rosier name for respite you may be in business! Whatever its...