An estimated €92,000 is needed to save this critical transport service
A vital transport service which is used by people with various disabilities in Clare is in serious danger of being terminated later this year.
The Disabled People of Clare group (DPOC) offers a diverse range of services to its members including coaching, training, educational courses and therapies. But one of the most important services provided for users is a transport service which ferries passengers for a range of reasons including school, college, work, and medical appointments.
The service aims to promote independent living among the members and if it is discontinued as planned on May 20, their independence will be compromised.
Newstalk reporter Kieran Cuddihy travelled down to meet the people who depend on this service and to understand the sense of disappointment felt among the locals at the thought of its impending closure.
Chairperson of the DPOC Margaret Kinnane, who is wheelchair bound and regularly avails of this service, explained how this transportation features in the lives of over 50 of their members.
“We do, on average, 71 runs per week and we have people who are wheelchair users, who are not wheelchair users, and people who have capacity issues. We have people who have secondary medical conditions such as diabetes and epilepsy. We have a driver and we have a bus escort in case of emergencies.”
“It’s about independent living and allowing people with [the] choice to book transport to go when they want to go, when they want to do it.”
The survival of the service is fuelled primarily by contributions and although they have also received some donations, the service has run out of funding.
One man, whose daughter Concepta is reliant on this service, told Kieran about the worry he feels at the thought of the service prematurely coming to an end.
“All the money that is being spent foolishly and they cannot give something towards this place. Once this stops, I think Concepta will be really lost.”
Due to the fact that the service is based in Ennis, it cannot be classified as a rural transport scheme and it does not come under the remit of the HSE.
Listen to the full interview here with voices from the Clare people who need this service to continue: