TD fury as government shuts out North West young people from State’s Ability programme

‘Not one project in Sligo, Leitrim or Donegal included on the list.’

‘Speaks volumes about government’s commitment to children with disabilities’ in the region.

Sligo News File.

There is fury after the government deliberately passed over young disabled school leavers in the North West seeking places on the State’s Ability project.

Marc MacSharry TD

The programme is designed to help young people with disabilities progress from school to further education and then on to labour market.

But now it’s claimed that young people affected by disability in Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal have been denied access to the scheme.

Slamming the decision, local TD Marc MacSharry said: “This is more of the same from this Dublin centric government which appears to be completely focussed on approving funding to projects based in the capital to the detriment of the regions.”

He said: “This is an extremely worthwhile programme, but unfortunately not one teenager or young adult will be able to avail of it here in the North West.

“A number of projects in Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim submitted applications to this scheme, but not one was chosen. This speaks volumes about the government’s commitment to children with disabilities in the North West.

“Unfortunately for these kids and their families disappointment and frustration are common emotions, especially when it comes to allocation of resources.

“Thirteen out of the 27 projects which were approved for funding under this initiative were in Dublin. There were others in Cork, Limerick and Galway. The only project approved north of the Dublin-Galway line was in Roscommon.

Ministers Doherty and McGrath announce funding of €16 million for 27 Projects under ‘Ability’ Programme for young people with disabilities.

“The fact that the government has completely ignored the North West yet again, while unsurprising, is completely unacceptable.

“Children with disabilities living in this region should be afforded the same opportunities as those living in Dublin.”

Adding that he was now calling on the Health Minister and the Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Disability to address this issue with urgency, he said they must ensure projects in the North West are included in the Ability programme.”