All Eilish Perryman wants is for her son, Patrick, to be looked after when she passes away. Now, the comfort that St John of God charity would be there to provide care to her intellectually disabled son, has been taken away from her.
he decision by the charity organisation to pull out of providing disability services across the country and in Kerry has caused grave concern to hundreds of parents, not least Eilish.
Her son, Patrick (43), lives in St Mary of the Angel’s in Beaufort, which is run by the St John of God charity. This is one of several services run by St John of God which is now under threat.
The organisation has written to the HSE to announce their intention to no longer provide services to more than 8,000 children and adults on behalf of the state.
“Who will take over? Services could become private like nursing homes. That is my worry. That is what happened in the UK. My son relies on St John of God. I’d die happy if I knew he would be taken care of,” she told The Kerryman.
“The Government knew last January or February that this was going to happen and they did nothing.”
Eilish and other parents are appealing for the Government and the HSE to provide the necessary funding to the charity organisation to allow them to continue to provide services. She has nothing but praise for the St John of God charity, which transformed her and her son’s life. The care he has received under the organisation has been ‘tremendous’ .
“They have been wonderful. I can’t say enough for the service,” she said.
Patrick has been under the care of St John of God since 1997, when he attended their day-care service before later moving to a service run by the charity in Cork and, more recently, to St Mary of the Angels, where he is now a resident.
“I can’t put a price on the services from St John of God. Our lives changed over the last eight years and, more importantly, Patrick’s life,” Eilish said.
Jack Fitzpatrick – whose son, Bernard, also lives at St Mary of the Angel’s – is also calling on the Government to address the funding deficit. He too fears that residential centres like St Mary of the Angels could be run for profit if the HSE decide not to run the services themselves.
He said that all parents are “very concerned”.
“The Government needs to give them what they need to run the service. They are running at a massive loss. It will probably cost the Government more if the HSE run it. We are very concerned. Their level of care is second to none.”
Deputy Michael Healy-Rae said he is also worried about the future of service users, particularly given the HSE’s record in running facilities. He said that the service users and their families must be central to any changeover that occurs.
“The important people are the users of the service. What does this mean to their service.”