The Taoiseach was accused of “paying lip service” to the case of an eight-year-old boy with Down’s syndrome, fighting for his medical card, who he has yet to make contact with a month after pledging to meet him.
Enda Kenny said at his party’s conference in Limerick that he would be happy to meet Ronan Whitehouse, who waited outside the meeting for three hours so he could ask the Taoiseach for his medical card back.
His mother, Noreen Keane, said she feels the comments by Mr Kenny were an “empty gesture” to “move the story along” after her son’s case was highlighted by the Irish Examiner.
“I still have the same question to ask of the Taoiseach, which is: If there has not been a change in policy, why has my child’s medical card been taken away?” Ms Keane said. “I’m still waiting to hear from him. I’ll meet him any time, any place.”
A spokesperson for the Taoiseach said it still remains the case that Mr Kenny is happy to meet Ronan, but the opportunity has not yet arisen. Ronan was born with Down’s syndrome and suffers chronic asthma, sight difficulties, hearing loss, and thyroid problems.
At a recent meeting with HSE officials, his mother presented a detailed assessment of costs associated with his condition, which amounted to €2,500 a month.
“I told them I was on my knees and I couldn’t possibly take care of his medical needs without my medical cards,” said Ms Keane, a single mother.
Ronan was offered a long- term illness card, which does not cover many of the services he requires. His mother rejected the offer, saying her son is not ill, but has a condition for life.
They will join a number of other children with Down’s syndrome at a protest in Cork City Hall at 2pm today.
It is being organised by the family of Katie Connolly, aged 5, from Douglas in Cork whose temporary medical card is due to be withdrawn next week.
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