Joint Statement - Preventing the Collapse of Ireland’s Disability Strategy
Issued on September 15 2011
Dublin Thursday 15th September 2011:
Judy Windell (GRDO) (left) with John Dolan (DFI), Denise Dunne (NAI), Tom King (Carmichael CIL), Natalie Buhl (Mental Health Reform ) , Morgan McKnight (PWDI), Deirdre Carroll (Inclusion Ireland), Des Kenny (The Not for Profit Business Association) and Maurice O'Connell (DFI), members of ten national organisations representing 800,000 people with disabilities, pictured here issuing a joint statement to Government entitled 'Preventing the Collapse of Ireland's Disability Strategy".
It deals with the cumulative effect of reductions in essential income and service supports on people with disabilities, including mental health, since the onset of the recession in 2008.
Picture Jason Clarke Photography.
We the under-signed national voluntary disability organisations, representing the diversity of people with disabilities and disabling conditions including mental health, make this joint statement to Government regarding Budget 2012.
Disability is not a sectoral issue; it is a social issue. 18.5% of the Irish population have one or more disabilities, and the percentage is increasing as our population ages.
The Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and the Programme for Government have named people with disabilities including mental health as the Government's social justice priority. Yet the Government cannot even tell what has been the impact of the recession on this historically disadvantaged group. The adverse effects have been obscured by the absence of clear lines of accountability and ineffective monitoring of outcomes for people with disabilities.
Those of us in the sector however are acutely aware of the effect of the cumulative reductions in essential income and service supports on people with disabilities that have occurred since the onset of the recession in 2008. It is our view that further pressure on people with disabilities would be unsustainable. We consider Ireland's National Disability Strategy to be on the point of collapse into empty promises.
We jointly call on the Government, through the Comprehensive Review Expenditure and Budget 2012, to deliver on its social justice priority, and ensure that "the quality of life of people with disabilities is enhanced" in Budget 2012. [ Programme for Government , page 54]
Action by the Government is urgently needed to:
- Halt reductions in the income supports for people with disabilities dependent on benefits.
People with disabilities are most likely to experience real poverty because on top of the recent cuts in benefit levels and new charges, they have to pay for extras required due to their disability.
- Maintain funding for the services needed by people with disabilities.
Cutting the services required by people with disabilities not only undermines their lives, it also leads to a growing public burden in terms of hospital stays and expensive care costs
- Publish and Implement Plan for the National Disability Strategy and incorporate it into Budget decision-making by all Departments and public agencies.
Ireland must plan for this long period of austerity in a manner that protects services and supports for people with disabilities and ensures that real progress is achievable when economic conditions ease.
15 th September 2011
Care Alliance Ireland
CIL Carmichael House
Disability Federation of Ireland
Genetic & Rare Disorders Organisation
Mental Health Reform
Neurological Alliance of Ireland
People with Disabilities in Ireland
The National Federation of Voluntary Bodies
The Not for Profit Business Association