The Parkinson's Association of Ireland has published a three-year plan to assist around 8,000 people with the neurological condition.

It says there is a clear need to improve the number and range of specialist services for those affected.

The plan says there are just 22 neurologists in Ireland for a population of over 4m people, compared with 600 neurologists in Belgium, which has around 10m people.

Ireland also has just three Parkinson's Disease nurse specialists, compared with 241 in Britain and five in Northern Ireland.

The association said it is disappointing that, unlike other voluntary agencies, it receives no funding from the Health Service Executive.

It says that around €250,000 a year should be provided in funding to help it improve public awareness and understanding about the causes and symptoms of the disease, which causes tremor, muscular rigidity and slow movement.

The association says loss of independence and mobility are among the most distressing aspects of Parkinson's, especially if a person can no longer drive a car.