DFI Welcomes the Publication of the National Disability Strategy Implementation Plan

Publication of the National Disability Strategy Implementation Plan

Press Release by the Disability Federation of Ireland

29th July 2013

The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) today welcomed the publication of the NDS Implementation Plan (NDSIP). This plan gives a re-commitment to the high level goals of people with disabilities being treated as equal citizens, independence and choice, participation, and maximising potential. 

DFI is disappointed however, as there are a number of areas where the NDSIP falls short of what Ireland has committed to achieving for people with disabilities. 

John Dolan, CEO of DFI stated “Overall it lacks ambition, and does not include many of the priority actions which DFI have suggested since the start of the drafting process for the Plan.  For example, there is no priority given to the important role played by existing community services and supports funded through the HSE, and other Departments, that enable people’s access and participation in life in the community.  Equally, there is no mention of supports such as Personal Assistance, a vital support in independent living for many people.” 

He continued “As we know disability is a societal issue, and not a sectoral one.  Our key concern at this time is that we are not seeing the ambition at government level to deliver on these high level goals.  Their ambition is muted.  Underpinning this whole process is inadequate public service reform which is crucial for the successful implementation of the National Disability Strategy.  There is a conflict between the actions stated in the NDSIP, and the reality of Government decisions that have been taken over the past number of years. There has been a ‘chipping away’ at both disability specific supports and mainstream supports representing a complete lack of understanding of the challenges faced by people with disabilities trying to live an ordinary life with health and well-being in their own communities.” 

Another key issue that DFI and others have emphasised on a number of occasions is that timelines for achieving the various Departmental actions are too weak or inadequate, with the term ‘ongoing’ being overly used.  This makes it extremely difficult to monitor progress on the actions stated within the Plan. 

Mr Dolan concluded “The overall Plan is not comprehensive, and it lacks a true whole of government approach.  Fulfilling the commitment made in the Plan to cross-departmental and cross agency working will require new approaches and in many cases, a cultural shift in ways of working.  Our hope is that the structures established to support these ways of working will produce that effect.   Although we welcome this Implementation Plan, we strongly believe that people with disabilities deserve better.  Ireland has signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and is set to ratify it shortly.  Robust implementation of the Strategy and more will be required if Ireland is to fulfil its obligations under the Convention.”

ENDS

For further information, please contact

Allen Dunne, Deputy CEO 086 8502112 

The National Disability Strategy Implementation Plan is available on the Department of Justice and Equality website here: http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/PB13000321

29th July 2013 

ENDS 

Note for Editors:

The publication of this Implementation Plan fulfils the Programme for Government commitment to “publish, following wide consultation, a realistic implementation plan for the National Disability Strategy, including sectoral plans with achievable timescales and targets within available resources and ensure whole of government involvement and monitoring of the Strategy, in partnership with the disability sector”. 

The Implementation Plan was developed by the National Disability Strategy Implementation Group (NDSIG), chaired by Minister Lynch, and comprising representatives from relevant government departments, disability organisations and people with disabilities appointed in their personal capacity.

The Implementation Plan was approved by the NDSIG at their meeting of 20 June 2013 and passed by Government on 23 July 2013.

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