The HSE has apologised to the families of children across the country who cannot access disability services.

It said that waiting times and staff shortages mean the service is falling short of what families expect.

It comes as special needs schools raise concerns about the lack of services available to children under the HSE's Progressing Disability Services Project.

9-year-old Harry Kirwan has cerebral palsy and a mild to moderate disability.

He had a double hip operation last year and his mother Paula says he may never walk again due to a lack of access to adequate physiotherapy services.

He can't access therapy in his school, Scoil Mochua in Clondalkin in Dublin, because he lives outside the catchment area.

Paula says not being able to access the services is having a detrimental effect on Harry.

"It's so frustrating to know that there are physios here in the school that could be putting him in a stander or helping him with his physio and they are not allowed touch him because he is not in this team."

Principal of the school, Vivienne Wynne, says the HSE's Progressing Disability Services project is failing children in special needs schools.

"The students are finding it much more difficult to access vital services like physiotherapy, occupational therapy speech and language and psychology which are vital for them to succeed and meet their potential."

The HSE said children's disability teams have a vacancy rate of nearly 30%, and it said it was working hard to recruit qualified staff for these jobs.

CEO of Inclusion Ireland, Derval McDonagh said: "The idea behind PDS was to bring together all of the resources in a region and try and base the teams regionally so that it would make it a fairer way of accessing services and supports.

"The problem with that is that the teams were not adequately resourced to do that."

Harry Kirwin has his hopes set on walking again but without the services he needs that may never happen.

Govt 'failing children' with special needs

Sinn Féin has accused the Government of failing children with special needs by not providing access to therapies.

In the Dáil, Pearse Doherty said children and young people with disabilities are not getting adequate speech and language therapy, occupational therapies and physiotherapy.

Highlighting the case of 9-year-old Harry Kirwan, Deputy Doherty said it was a scandal that Harry is being denied access to the physiotherapist at the school because he lives outside the catchment area.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said the Government was committed to putting in place supports to help Harry and others.

He said the HSE was putting in place a programme to reinstate 136 whole-time equivalent posts for therapists supporting children.

However, he added that it was a challenge to recruit people.

Donohoe defends bank staff bonuses

Separately, Minister Paschal Donohoe has continued his defence of relaxing the restrictions on bankers' bonuses and pay in the Dáil this afternoon.

He told the Dáil the three Irish-owned banks were facing competition for staff from 30 other banks operating in Ireland which were offering bonuses and variable pay.

He added that the banks were now working in "fundamentally different regulatory environment" than had been in place prior to the financial crisis.

He said there would be more measures "making sure we have ability to sanction individuals" introduced in future.

Minister Donohoe was responding to Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall who said it seemed "no self-respecting high-flying banker would work for less than €500,000".

She asked why the Government agreed to change the rules for AIB which had been fined €96 million this year for its role in the track mortgage scandal.

She said lifting the restrictions was "especially galling" for families affected by the scandal and asked, "where is the evidence the banks have learnt any lessons?"

Call for 100% redress for homeowners affected by safety defects

People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy has called on the Government to bring forward 100% redress for homeowners and apartment owners affected by fire and safety defects.

In the Dáil, Mr Murphy said there were "many potential Grenfells" in the country and he claimed the vast majority of apartments built over the past three decades were affected.

He said this was due to a regime of self-certification introduced by Fine Gael and passed by Fianna Fáil.

Mr Murphy said this was not the fault of the owners and they should get 100% redress with the state pursuing the developers.

Minister Donohoe said a working group within Government would present its conclusions shortly and this would lead to a national framework being put in place to respond back.

He said the group had identified that between 62,500 and 100,000 homes are affected.

The Government is reforming building control policy to ensure the problem will not recur.

Mr Donohoe also said that whatever the Government announces would not be enough for Mr Murphy.

"It will be condemned by you as insufficient. You probably already have the tweet written and ready to go," the minister said.

Meanwhile, Louth TD Peter Fitzpatrick has called on the Government to reassure members of An Garda Síochana that they will be given the resources and training they need to do their job properly.

Speaking in the Dáil, he said they are having serious issues with pay and conditions and paperwork and he called on the Minister for Finance to make a commitment to members of the Force that they will be looked after.

Minister Donohue said the Government has "full faith in the ability of An Garda Síochána, to do all that can be done to keep our roads, our streets and our towns safe".

He said that every three months, 200 more garda recruits will enter Templemore and "that's the biggest commitment we can make".

The Minister added that Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath, signed a further "public wage agreement because of the work that our nurses and our garda do". He said that the message is "unambiguous we will do all we can because of the value we place on An Garda Síochána".

Additional reporting David Murphy, Sinead Spain, Sandra Hurley