Pat Ramsey, MLA for Foyle has criticised the decision by the Department of Health to cancel an expected payment of some £750, 000 to the Family Fund - a fund which provides financial support to families of disabled children.
The Fund has helped over 4000 families to meet the cost of essential needs.
However it has emerged that the Department has choosen not to make an expected payment to the group.
Mr. Ramsey who is also the chairperson of both the All Party Group on Disability and the All Party Group on Learning Disability, said: “In excess of 300 of these families live in this constituency, these are families who have come to rely on this charity not only for financial support but for emotional and physical assistance also.”
Mr. Ramsey added: “The cost of raising a disabled child is somewhere between three and four times more expensive than that of a fully able bodied child. This is not a luxury fund but a fund which enables families to live with a little dignity, a little independence.
“I quite frankly think it is a decision that beggars belief. It will undoubtedly be a huge cause for worry and concern among previous recipients of the Family Fund.
“I have already requested the Minister of Health explain the business case behind this decision and challenge him to outline any additional support structures he will be bringing online. It is important that those living with pronounced difficulties do not suffer unduly as a result of Departmental decisions.”