Athlone Extinction Rebellion founder and Green Party general election candidate for the Roscommon/Galway constituency, Julie O’Donoghue, has expressed her immense dissatisfaction at the decision taken to permanently close the Cuisle Accessible Holiday Resort in Donamon at the end of November.
The decision to close the facility in Donamon, Co. Roscommon was taken by the Irish Wheelchair Association and was supported by Minister of State for Disability Issues, Finian McGrath, in the Dáil last Thursday.
The announcement has sent shockwaves around the locality and throughout the country, with national charities, people with disabilities, their families, staff, politicians, volunteers and supporters coming together to form a new campaign group, ‘Save Cuisle’.
“I have spoken to many people regarding the sad and shocking news that Cuisle Accessible Holiday Resort is due to close at the end of the month.
“Not just locally but also nationally, there is widespread support for saving Cuisle. The service that is being offered is absolutely invaluable to people with disabilities and their families and it is the only one of its kind in the country. Cuisle caters for people who would never have a trip away if it were not for the service and, very often, it provides the only respite for carers,” Julie remarked.
The imminent closure of Cuisle will devastate those who use the facility on a regular basis as their sole annual trip destination.
“It is invaluable because it is a place where having a disability isn’t a barrier to having a good time with peers when so many of our public spaces are completely inaccessible. There are people around the country whose annual trip to Cuisle is something that they look forward to all year and their only social outlet.
“I have spoken with members of the national charity, Ataxia Foundation Ireland, who are devastated to hear of the planned closure and have assured me that they are willing to do whatever it takes to save Cuisle. Everyone I spoke to emphasised the incredible service provided by staff and the value of the facility. I have no doubt that we will be able to get other service users, families and charities to row in behind a campaign to save Cuisle,” Julie commented.
The Green Party election candidate for 2020 referenced her personal situation with regard to the planned closure.
“As the sister of somebody who uses a wheelchair, I am keenly aware of the lack of facilities for people with disabilities in this country. In an absolutely ideal world, everywhere would be accessible for everybody. As that is not the case, the very least we can do as a society is to save facilities like Cuisle that support some of the most vulnerable among us.
“This goes to the heart of what we value as a society and what we are willing to stand up and fight for. I am absolutely committed to working to save this invaluable facility and I will support everyone who is doing the same,” Julie concluded.