June 8, 2023

‘We can’t wait any longer’ – Kilkenny TD calls for set-up of cross-party committee on autism

A Kilkenny TD is calling for the creation of an Oireachtas Autism Committee to be made a priority while the nation waits for a government to be formed.

Sinn Féin TD Kathleen Funchion has written to the Ceann Comhairle Seán O’Fearghail asking that the establishment of an all-party Oireachtas Committee on Autism be prioritised over all other committees.

Less than a year ago, the Dáil agreed to establish an all-party committee to deal with the issues facing people living with autism in Ireland, however, that committee has as yet not been created.

Speaking on the issue today, Deputy Funchion said: “In April 2019 I, along with my party colleagues introduced a motion calling for an Autism Empowerment Strategy to the Dáil on World Autism Day. This was a considered piece of work done in conjunction with advocacy groups and members of the autistic community.

“The motion set out a clear framework towards finally delivering a National Autism Empowerment Strategy and for the setting up of an all-party Oireachtas committee which would be mandated to produce such a strategy within six months.

“Even though the motion was passed receiving strong cross-party support at the time, the committee was never established.

The work of the committee, when formed would address issues such as lengthy waiting lists for assessments of children, locating appropriate school places, and establishing basic rights and entitlements for autistic children.

The committee would tackle issues autistic adults face on a daily basis such as the provision of crucial services, finding work, securing social welfare, and living independently.

“I have raised this with the Ceann Comhairle,” Deputy Funchion said, “and hope that it will be seriously considered by the Business Committee of the Dáil so that we may see the establishment of this committee in the coming weeks.”

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