Press statement from Disability Federation, 23 August 2016

The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) has forwarded a review of the Government’s first 100 days in office to all cabinet members, in light of the commitments to disability made in ‘A Programme for a Partnership Government’. The 100 day review can be seen by clicking here.

The DFI has also forwarded a copy of ‘Make or Break’, its Pre-Budget Submission 2017 to all cabinet members. See ‘Make or Break’ by clicking here.

In a covering letter to all members of the Cabinet, Senator John Dolan, CEO DFI said, “Budget 2017 comes at a time of critical opportunity.  The Government must act quickly and decisively to bridge the gap of almost a decade between the signing of the UN CRPD and our anticipated ratification of this major international treaty by the end of the year.  In particular, it is imperative that the Government prioritise the building of disability services in the community.  This vital work will require a whole of Government approach, which will involve deploying resources in a new way in order to transform the way Ireland deals with the challenges posed by disability”. 

Dolan continued, “The fact that we are now the only country in Europe that has failed to ratify this international treaty is increasingly becoming a blight on our reputation as a socially progressive country.  To this new Government’s credit, a firm commitment has been given that the UN CRPD will be ratified by 31st December.  To bring this about, the Budget has to deliver the resources necessary to guarantee that persons with disabilities will progressively enjoy their inherent right to live on an equal basis with others (Article 10, UN CRPD); ensure the equal rights and advancement of women and girls with disabilities (Article 6, UNCRPD); and, protect children with disabilities (Article 7, UNCRPD).  Accordingly, practical everyday areas such as employment, health and personal social services, housing and education all need to be improved”.

Addressing intolerable difficulties faced by people with disabilities since 2008, Dolan said, “People with disabilities have heard promise after promise since 2008 while enduring some of the most unacceptable cuts to essential supports and services. We now need to hear about concrete and fully funded plans to recover what was lost, the outcomes of which need to be felt by the people with a disability, as well as their families, in every village, town, and city in this country”.

DFI are now calling on the government to achieve the following in Budget 2017.

  • Increase disability payments by €20 per week as an initial measure to offset the additional costs of disability.
  • Introduce a Disability Tax Credit, similar to the Blind Persons Tax Credit.
  • Grant medical cards based on medical need, not income.
  • Ensure that eligibility and supports for all employment activation schemes include people with disabilities.
  • Provide €50 million to be used to redress deficits across services.
  • Increase the budget for Personal Assistant services by at least €15 million.
  • Increase Home Support Services by €10 million.
  • Invest €3 million in hospital-based neurology services.
  • Invest €4 million in community neuro-rehabilitation services.
  • Invest an additional €20 million in capital expenditure and €10 million in revenue on a multi-annual basis, to implement the ‘Time to Move On from Congregated Settings’ report.
  • Cut waiting lists for specialist and mainstream health services by 50%.
  • Ensure that the staffing levels for mental health services in A Vision for Change are met.
  • Increase the Housing Adaptation Grant by €30 million.
  • Provide the financial support necessary to implement the HSE’s ‘Time to Move On from Congregated Settings’ report.
  • Provide 1,000 social houses for people with disabilities as part of the Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness. 

In the letter to Governmet of 22nd August Senator John Dolan stressed, “Following on from the Budget, we are asking Government to quickly publish their cross-departmental implementation plan to deliver on the substance of the UN CRPD and the complementary commitments in the Programme for Government.  An implementation plan is now necessary to ensure delivery occurs on schedule.  The publication of the implementation plan can give confidence to people with disabilities and their families that their inclusion needs are being seriously addressed by Government”. 

 Ends

For contact: Senator John Dolan, CEO DFI – O86 7957467

Allen Dunne, Deputy CEO DFI – 086  8502112

 

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