Association members protest outside Leinster House
Parkinson’s Association members from all over the country including Kildare protested outside Leinster House yesterday, Thursday March 29.
Chief Executive, Paula Gilmore, handed over a petition with eleven thousand signatures appealing for government funding for the Association’s work to Minister of State, Helen McEntee TD.
The protest was also attended by Marian Harkin, MEP and EU Ambassador for People with Parkinson’s as well as many TDs and Senators from across the political spectrum.
The Parkinson’s charity said it gets absolutely no core funding from government despite the fact that it tries to help some twelve thousand people living with the degenerative neurological condition.
It has eighteen branches around the country and runs a free phone helpline which provides information and also offers a call-back service from a Parkinson’s Nurse Specialist.
The protestors were also demanding a nationwide Parkinson’s Nurse Specialist Service.
"The National Collaborating Centre for Chronic Conditions guidelines state there should be one Parkinson’s Nurse Specialist for every 300 patients, putting Ireland way below the recommended number. At present there are only five specialist posts for the entire country and one of these is vacant. Another position is part-time and one is funded by the Parkinson’s Association," it said.
Outside Dublin, the only two full-time Specialist Nurses are based in Limerick and Galway with none at all in Cork, the south east, Kilkenny, the rest of Leinster, the midlands or the border region.
“Parkinson’s is the second most common degenerative neurological condition after Alzheimer’s, yet the health services for people here are not as good as in many other EU countries. We could do so much more if we had some funding,” said Chief Executive, Paula Gilmore.
“We could expand the Nurse Service nationwide. We could put more structures in place, helping branches at local level, and we could increase the publications we provide.”