Ageing polio survivors are “furious” and hurt, saying they have been “abandoned” by the Rehab Group more than 30 years after the Polio Fellowship of Ireland (PFI) merged with it.
Rehab cut off all financial support to polio survivors in 2015 despite the fact it had gained assets valued at at £269,520 (€342,219) in the 1986 merger.
Among them is Park House, a large Victorian property on Park Avenue, Stillorgan, bought originally by PFI to rehabilitate polio survivors, now used as a Rehab adult education centre.
The PFI’s accounts show it brought with it £72,716 (€92,330) in cash and £11,637 (€14,775) raised by the Polio Fellowship Aid Society.
Rehab contributed about €35,000 a year to polio survivors’ needs through Polio Survivors Ireland (PSI).
In 2014, however, following the closure of Rehab’s charitable lottery, it announced all funding to PSI would stop. After negotiations, a final payment of about €35,000 was agreed in 2015.
PSI’s chief executive Fran Brennan said: “Through 2016 and 2017 we did all we could to convince Rehab that, if anything, our members’ needs were increasing rather than decreasing. The whole reason for the original merger was to safeguard the organisation’s capacity to support survivors with ongoing needs.”
Dealing with Rehab was “extremely difficult”, he said.