Girls' care petition wins over HSE

By David Looby

Published 07/07/2015 | 00:00

Maria Cullen, Sarah Corrigan, Katie Dempsey and Ciara Johnstone with their pettitions. Missing from photo Martha Clarke.
Maria Cullen, Sarah Corrigan, Katie Dempsey and Ciara Johnstone with their pettitions. Missing from photo Martha Clarke.

A WEXFORD mother of two severely autistic children who was due to have her respite care potentially cut in October around the time of the first anniversary of her husband's sudden death, has now had the care extended for five months after a group of Wexford students in her daughter's school sent a petition with 1,000 signatures on it to the HSE.

Jane Johnstone from Baldwsintown cares for her sons Evan (14), and Daniel (10) with the support of respite workers, who provide around 16 hours a week care between the two boys.

Ms Johnstone's husband Rod died suddenly aged 50 in October from a massive cardiac arrest while preparing his children for school. Ms Johnstone said: 'The care was up for review in October which is just around the corner. Rod's anniversary is in October also so it's going to be a very difficult time. The girls are the best examples of girl power. It all arose after one of the girls read the article in the Wexford People and a little group of friends decied they would get a petition or do whatever it takes to get care for my boys.'

She said Evan has many care needs and challenging behaviours, while her youngest son Daniel also requires care.

Ms Johnstone said her daughter's friends undertook a campaign to get signatures, calling door to door in their neighbourhoods. Within a short time they amassed 1,000 signatures which they sent to the HSE, who informed Ms Johnstone on Friday that respite care would now be continued until February 2016.

'I was already planning ahead and thinking about organising a meeting as you never know how long that would take and then I got this news. I think it's brilliant. None of them are even old enough to vote and now they can see what people power can achieve. They are the best generation of girl power. They can see that by standing up and doing something it does make a difference.' Ms Johnstone said having an additional five months care will give her some 'breathing space'.

Wexford People

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