Deputy Anne Rabbitte, Fianna Fáil spokesperson for Children and Youth Affairs and General Election candidate in Galway East, has branded as disgraceful the backlog facing Galway parents seeking an autism assessment for their children.

Figures released to Deputy Rabbitte by way of a parliamentary question show that 353 children (76%) are currently waiting for their initial therapy with the Galway Roscommon Autism Spectrum Disorder Service. Staggeringly, a total of 191 children (41%) have been waiting over two years.

Deputy Rabbitte commented:

I knew from numerous conversations with constituents that there was a major backlog but it’s only now we’re seeing just how bad the situation is and it’s shocking.To think we’ve almost 200 families across Galway and Roscommon waiting for help but they’re being left to languish on a waiting list. The impact on a child left waiting for intervention for two years cannot be under estimated. It could be detrimental to their development.

Deputy Rabbitte concluded:

Based on the number of parents contacting my office on this indicates to me that the situation is worsening, not improving. We all know the health service has continued to worsen in recent years due to the hands-off approach taken by this Fine Gael government.  It all comes down to mismanagement of resources within the service and a freeze on recruitment, which Fianna Fáil has committed to tackling if in government after this election.

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