Longford family's plea to HSE disability services

Jessica Thompson

Reporter:

Jessica Thompson

Email:

jessica.thompson@longfordleader.ie

Longford family's plea to the HSE Disability Services

Stevie Halvey

The sister of a 28-year-old Longford man has penned an open letter to the HSE Disability Services in an attempt to acquire a bed within the county for her severely disabled brother.

Nikita Halvey's brother, Stevie has been cared for by his mother for 28 years.

Unfortunately, for various health reasons, Stevie's mother has reached a stage where she will no longer be able to look after him.

As a result, Stevie has been living in St. Christopher's Adult Respite Service in Newtownforbes, paid for by the HSE.

However, at a cost of €2,000 per week, it is not a feasible permanent living arrangement for the much-loved Longford man.

As the young man's mother can no longer be his carer, as much as she would like to, the HSE has suggested moving Stevie to a facility in Mullingar - more than 40 kilometres away from his current life.

To move him so far away, Nikita told the Longford Leader, would take him away from everything he knows and everything that is important in his life: "There's no concern for his community, his ties, his life, anything. It feels like there's no care for his dignity."

And the HSE's plan was to move Stevie to Mullingar yesterday (Tuesday), though the family had no plans to let that happen.

"Come Tuesday, there's nowhere for him to go because we're refusing to consent to him being moved to Mullingar," Nikita told the Leader last week.

In her open letter to the HSE, she adds that Stevie "is a person, he matters, he didn't ask to be disabled and he doesn't have a voice to ask for what he needs so Kevin Halvey and I, his siblings, must do this for him".

"A person applying for a council home has a reasonable level of choice as to where they live, why is it ok to deprive a very vulnerable person like Stevie of the same choice?” she continued.

"We need to be allocated a bed in a residential facility in Longford where he can be Stevie, where the staff and residents are constant, where he can listen to Declan Nerney and eat chicken curry to his heart's content but most importantly where he can continue to access his day service and live what little bit of life that he is able to with his pals and people who know him."

For more on this story, see www.longfordlead.ie.