‘Minister Varadkar raises key issue in regard to services’ says John Dolan of the Disability Federation of Ireland

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12th September 2014

Dublin

The Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, recently revealed his belief that people would be unlikely to welcome modest increases to their income in Budget 2015 “if it came at the expense of health services and the services provided to those most in need in our society”.  It goes without saying that access to services is a vital issue for people with disabilities, their families and carers all around the country.

John Dolan, Chief Executive of the Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI), said today, “Minister Varadkar may have had his knuckles rapped by the Taoiseach for speaking out of turn about budgetary matters; however, he has raised an important economic and social point.  All of us at the Disability Federation of Ireland share the Minister’s views, and it is a matter that we are urging the Government to reflect on before the upcoming Budget.  Calls for pay rises and tax reductions continue to abound, but these approaches must not be introduced until Ireland has a strong and effective infrastructure to support people touched by disability, mental health conditions and chronic illnesses; the provision and protection of such an effective infrastructure is entirely a matter for Government”.

Dolan went on to say, “As it stands, our health system is deteriorating in front of us at a worrying rate.  With a rising population and greater longevity, waiting lists are mounting rapidly and increasing levels of unmet need are intensifying the pressure.  Those providing health services simply don’t have the resources required to deliver to an acceptable standard; with potential cuts of €24 million to disability spending next year being explored by the Department of Health, as reported in the Irish Times today, the situation could even worsen.  The system is failing to protect people with disabilities and others who need it on an on-going basis, with insufficient evidence from Government that it is planning for the future”.

“Responsive, reliable health and personal social services remain crucial in empowering people with disabilities to live ordinary and dignified lives in their own communities. So, instead of rapping Minister Varadkar on the knuckles, the Taoiseach and his cabinet colleagues should listen to what he has to say”, Dolan concluded.  

ENDS

 

Contact:

•             John Dolan, Chief Executive Officer         086 795 7467

•             Orlaith Grehan, Communications              01 708 0103

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