DFI Calls On Government to Restore SSNO Funding to Disability Organisations

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16 July 2014

Dublin

The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) today called on Government to restore €1.2 million in funding lost to 26 disability organisations before the commencement of summer recess in the Oireachtas tomorrow.

26 disability organisations saw their funding through the Scheme to Support National Organisations (SSNO), run by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, revoked on 30th June.  Last night, the Minister of State with responsibility for the implementation of the National Disability Strategy (NDS), Kathleen Lynch, confirmed that she was not advised of this development.

Furthermore, following yesterday’s designation of responsibilities to Ministers of State, Minister Lynch is no longer assigned to the Department of Justice and Equality, where responsibility for the whole-of-government implementation of the NDS rests.  She is now solely attached to the Department of Health, where her portfolio includes disability, mental health and primary care.

Chief Executive of DFI, John Dolan, explained, “This demonstrates the evident confusion as to where and with whom responsibility for the NDS lies: this needs to be cleared up immediately.  People with disabilities are very concerned with any signal that the SSNO funding and other disability issues are to be dealt with through a Minister assigned only to Health”.

He continued, “There is a continuing lack of priority and understanding at the centre of Government around the core reason for the NDS, namely to ensure that people with disabilities can fully participate across all areas of public life and in the community.  DFI has advocated for some time for Government to assign a Senior Minister for Disability Inclusion.  Not alone have the Taoiseach and Tánaiste failed to do this, but the appointment of the Minister for State adds more confusion and confirms that Government is not competently dealing with its ‘priority’ social justice issue”.

DFI is calling on all T.D.'s and Senators to show their solidarity with disabled people and their families, who are now being adversely affected by this withdrawal of funding, and to support the determined implementation of the NDS.  They can demonstrate this today by attending the Private Members Motion on disability issues, presented by Deputy Finian McGrath on behalf of the Technical Group, resuming at 7.30pm this evening.

Mr Dolan concluded, “People with disabilities and their families need to be assured that, by the time the Dáil closes for summer recess tomorrow, this vital funding to their organisations will be back in place.  We are urging Government to reinstate the €1.2 million funding to the 26 disability organisations who lost it, and to take immediate action to protect and invest in the future of people with disabilities in Ireland”.

ENDS

Contact

  • John Dolan, Chief Executive Officer         086 795 7467
  • Orlaith Grehan, Communications            01 708 0103

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