Sixth grade Tipperary schoolgirls are set to launch an ‘unprecedented’ lobbying campaign from within Leinster House to better serve children and young people with autism.
Cara Darmody, 12, sits down with her father, Mark, in an area where TDs gather to ask them to endorse a petition for better service they filed with the Oireachtas.
The move is similar to the one adopted by Greta Thunberg, who in August 2018, aged 15, began calling for action on climate change outside the Swedish parliament every Friday.
Carla and her father go to Leinster House every Wednesday and are signed into the house by a TD who supports her. Afterwards, they head to her one of Leinster House’s dining halls and she begins her own school studies.
At certain times of the day, she will stand near where TDs pass, approach TDs, and lobby for campaigns.
Later, at 1:00 pm, she spends her lunch break in the Dáil Chamber, a public gallery, viewing Leaders’ Questions.
“She now has a regular slot in a local newspaper where she writes a column about her experiences with Doyle,” Mark said.
“She also evaluates the ministers of the day on how they will act on whatever the big issue of the day is.
Cara met Micheál Martin at the office when he was at Taoiseach last July to raise awareness about the lack of support for autism.
Later, in an impassioned speech at the Joint Committee on Autism, she urged health officials to “just do their job.”
Her appearance saw Cara.The campaign also led to her appearancemade history as the youngest person ever to address the Doyle Commission.
Ardfinnan schoolgirls have two siblings with autism, Neil, 10, and John, 5.
Frustrated by what she sees as a lack of services for autism, Carla last summer launched a campaign to raise awareness and funding for better services locally and nationally. He was the youngest to pass the junior certification exam, scoring 97% in mathematics.
She filed a petition with the Oirichitas Commission on Public Petitions last week.
It calls for state funding of autism services for which HSE is responsible and the introduction of an independent agency to investigate complaints against HSE.
Cara, who plans to be the youngest to take the Leaving Cert math exam in June, is also calling for a complete overhaul of her caregiving benefits.