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Additional Services Required For Children With Autism: Cllr Murtagh

Updated: Oct 29, 2022

Writes Ciaran Dineen

Additional services for people with autism are required in the local in the Carrigaline Municipal District (MD) according to a local County Councillor, who says that that Cork County Council should “look to engage with and support Community centres in the MD in order to create shared indoor spaces, corners or sensory walls, for local families of children with autism.”

The call was made by Cllr Michael Paul Murtagh (FG) in a motion at the latest meeting of the Carrigaline MD in County Hall, with the Crosshaven-based councillor saying that following the provision of ASD-Friendly Communication Boards in Carrigaline (brought by Cllr Ben Dalton O’Sullivan (Ind), the Council should look to build on amenities and infrastructure to facilitate an inclusive society.

In delivering his motion Cllr Murtagh referenced the Rainbow Club based in Mahon. The organisation is one of Cork's most inspiring charities and recently were named the winner of the Youth Category in the National Lottery Good Causes Awards 2022, securing €10,000. The Rainbow Club offers welcome support for families, children, young teens, and adults living with autism. Their mission is to support and teach people about autism, the challenges it brings to the child and family and how to live every day with it.

Communications Board in Carrigaline Community Park

Two weeks ago at their 10th anniversary masquerade ball, held in the Carrigaline Court Hotel, the Taoiseach Micheál Martin, gave attendees and organisers some very positive news as he announced that Cork’s Rainbow Club looks set to secure a new, permanent home, and that the conveyancing of a HSE-owned site to Cork City Council is currently underway and should be completed by the end of the month, pending due process.

Cllr Murtagh indicated that communities must “change with the times” and “allocate space” for additional facilities and amenities that cater for those with autism. Cllr Seámus McGrath (FF), who deputised as County Mayor and spoke at the masquerade ball, was in support of Cllr Murtagh, as was Cllr Jack White (FG) who said that there was huge merit in the motion, and stated that a constituent in Tracton had recently contacted him regarding the availability of funding; suggesting that this was a sign that there is growing demand and recognition that community centres and society need to adapt.

In response to the motion, Cork County Council issued the following statement with regards to potential funding streams available, “in February each year, community groups are invited to apply for grants through the Municipal District Community Fund Scheme, see below for brief synopsis of grants available: Capital Fund Scheme for community groups, sporting and local organisations in County Cork who wish to undertake infrastructural projects costing over €20,000 that will improve the range or quality of community based facilities within their area e.g. community halls, sporting facilities, etc. Amenity Fund Scheme. For community groups, sporting and local organisations in County Cork who wish to undertake projects or purchase equipment that directly benefits communities and meets particular needs. Projects being applied for under this scheme must cost less than €20,000.”

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