Programme for Government - 'A Lot Planned - All To Do'

October 2 2009, 06:02pm




We enter the pre-election period with hope as never before for the full participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of Irish life. This is a reasonable expectation, yet the National Disability Strategy (NDS) can only comprehensively deliver full and easy access to all aspects of life and living for people with disabilities if it is fully implemented. To progress the inclusion of people with disabilities in Irish society the next Government needs to urgently address the following key issues:

  • People with disabilities continue to incur additional day to day living costs simply because they have a disability. We need to see the wellbeing of the person with a disability improve in real terms through direct financial support to offset these costs.
  • Significant under - funding still exists for voluntary disability organisations that are delivering core services on a daily basis to people with disabilities. Important processes started almost a decade ago to tackle this issue are still incomplete.
  • Our sector needs to be convinced that the next Government can professionally manage the NDS through to completion. We need to have set out in concrete terms what will be achieved over the next five years. We need to see year by year project plans, time lined targets, expected outcomes and performance indicators.

We seek to have these proposals headlined in each party''s Election Manifesto as follows:

"That in Government we:

  • will commence progressive implementation of the Cost of Disability Payment.
  • will adequately resource current service delivery by voluntary disability organisations.
  • will identify for each year of the programme for government the objectives and outcomes for the NDS, having regard to the vision and long term goals for people with disabilities as set out in ''Towards 2016''."

Since the publication of ''A Strategy for Equality'' (1996) over a decade of preparation and planning has taken place. The plan, the NDS, is in place. We want full delivery over the next decade. Delivery must start now.

We carry an expectation from ''Towards 2016'', that in ten years time the NDS will have brought about a situation where the experience of at least the great majority of people with disabilities will be that they can participate fully in life in Ireland with the ease that any member of the public should expect. The next Government has a key role to ensure that past wrongs are put to right.

Yet the NDS is a much more complex and challenging programme than even health service reform. We have serious concerns about the capacity of public administration to be able to deliver on the NDS. Early delivery on our three proposals is critical.


People with disabilities incur many extra, but ordinary, everyday costs such as food, heating and clothing as a result of their disability. This matter was identified by both the Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities and the National Economic and Social Forum (NESF) and they both recommended this payment. The Cost of Disability Payment issue has been on the social partnership agenda since the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (2000).

The NDA commissioned and published research on this issue in 2004. The findings of this research "Disability and the Cost of Living", is based on international evidence and suggests that the extra cost of living imposed by a disability was approximately €40 per week in 2005.

A Cost of Disability Payment in line with the above would not only alleviate the problem of deprivation and poverty, but address issues such as equality and participation.

Comprehensive discussion and research has been carried out on this issue, the case is proven. It is time to commence progressive implementation of the Cost of Disability Payment starting with those already on means tested payments.

DFI seeks to have this proposal included in the Manifestos of all parties contesting this Election. This measure to be included in the 2008 Estimates & Budget.


While there have been significant increases in funding for disability over recent years, such as the multi annual funding programme, there is ongoing under - resourcing of existing services which organisations are expected to deliver on the ground. Under - resourcing can occur due to the rising cost of service provision, which is caused by increases in pay, inflation and / or standards in service provision. Many voluntary disability organisations struggle to maintain their current level of services.

If the historical under - funding of the voluntary disability sector is not addressed immediately it will be impossible to develop robust, new services, on an equitable basis, which are responsive to the needs of people with disabilities.

DFI seeks action by the new Government to address the under - resourcing of voluntary disability organisations in the forthcoming Estimates & Budget.


The NDS is set to be delivered within the context of the ten year social partnership agreement ''Towards 2016''. The full five year term of the next Government represents the halfway stage. DFI expects that at the end of the next programme for government, it will be clearly visible that the vision and long term goals of the NDS will be halfway to completion.

DFI recognises that the NDS, and the process of mainstreaming, represents one of the largest challenges yet undertaken by the State. DFI is not confident that the current public administration system can successfully implement this process and argues that such a complex and important Strategy can easily be undermined and fail unless a comprehensive and effective project management plan is put in place to implement it.

Comprehensive monitoring, review and evaluation procedures need to be established and set out over the lifetime of the agreement to ensure successful implementation of the various components of the NDS.

This requires all parties to set out in their Manifestos the objectives and outcomes on a year by year basis to be achieved, to meet the vision and long term goals of the NDS as they relate to people with disabilities over the next five years.

This implementation and monitoring tool to be developed within three months of the establishment of the new Government.


Our experience teaches us to be sceptical. The Cost of Disability Payment lies dormant in an Interdepartmental Committee for the past seven years. Commitments to sort out under funding for organisations providing services are still outstanding a decade later. We remember the close down on development funding after the last Election and, while a multi annual funding programme commenced in 2005, organisations are experiencing arbitrary cuts to their statutory funding base.

We require clear expression of commitment from each Party to the issues set out here and to have our proposals integrated into the next programme for government and then actioned immediately.

The parties contesting this election can signal that they will make a strong and signifi cant start by endorsing our proposals. Early action by the new Government is key to successful implementation of the NDS.

As disabled people we have been long in the queue to get commitments to address our exclusion. Thankfully, through the NDS, we now have these commitments and we expect implementation to commence immediately - "A Lot Planned, All To Do".


  • Action for Mobility
  • Alzheimer Society of Ireland
  • Anne Sullivan Centre*
  • APT
  • Arklow Disability Action Group*
  • Arthritis Ireland
  • ASPIRE - Asperger Syndrome Association of Ireland
  • Asthma Society of Ireland
  • Aware
  • BIH Housing Association (Irl) Ltd
  • Bodywhys*
  • Brainwave - The Irish Epilepsy Association
  • BRÍ - The Acquired Brain Injury Advocacy Association
  • Care Alliance Ireland*
  • Care Local*
  • Carmichael Centre for Voluntary Groups*
  • CASA - Caring and Sharing Association
  • Central Remedial Clinic
  • Center for Independent Living
  • Centre for Independent Living Blanchardstown*
  • Centre for Independent Living Carlow*
  • Centre for Independent Living Cork*
  • Centre for Independent Living Dublin 7*
  • Centre for Independent Living Galway*
  • Centre for Independent Living Mayo
  • Centre for Independent Living Offaly*
  • Centre for Independent Living Sligo*
  • Centre for Independent Living Tipperary
  • Centre for Independent Living Waterford*
  • Centre for Independent Living Wexford*
  • Cheeverstown House Ltd
  • Cheshire Ireland*
  • Children in Hospital Ireland*
  • COPE Foundation
  • Cork Accessible Transport*
  • County Roscommon Support Group for People with Disabilities
  • Crosscare Cedar Programme*
  • Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland
  • DEBRA Ireland
  • Diabetes Federation of Ireland Southern Regional Office*
  • Disabled Drivers Association
  • Disabled People of Clare
  • Doorway to Life Ltd
  • Down Syndrome Ireland
  • Dyslexia Association of Ireland
  • Dyspraxia Association of Ireland*
  • Enable Ireland
  • Express Yourself Ltd*
  • Féach*
  • Fibromyalgia Support Group (Midlands)*
  • FICTA - Federation of Irish Complementary Therapy Associations (FICTA)*
  • Fighting Blindness
  • Focus Ireland
  • Friedreich''s Ataxia Society of Ireland
  • Galway County Association for Mentally Handicapped Children*
  • Genetic and Inherited Disorders Organisation
  • HAIL Housing Association for Integrated Living
  • Headway Ireland
  • Health Action Overseas*
  • Heart Children Ireland*
  • Huntington''s Disease Association of Ireland
  • Institute for Disability & Senior Citizens Ltd.*
  • Irish Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus
  • Irish Deaf Society
  • Irish Electromagnetic Radiation Victims Network*
  • Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind
  • Irish Haemophilia Society
  • Irish Kidney Association
  • Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association
  • Irish Raynauds and Scleroderma Society
  • Irish Society for Autism
  • Irish Wheelchair Association
  • Jack and Jill Children''s Foundation
  • KARE
  • Leitrim Association of People with Disabilities
  • Lucan Disability Action Group*
  • Migraine Association of Ireland*
  • Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland
  • Muscular Dystrophy Ireland
  • National Association for Deaf People
  • National Council for the Blind of Ireland
  • National Federation of Arch Clubs
  • Neurofibromatosis Association of Ireland
  • Neurological Alliance of Ireland*
  • Noinin Support for Autism*
  • North West MS Therapy Centre
  • ONET*
  • Out and About Association*
  • Parkinson''s Association of Ireland
  • Peacehaven Trust*
  • Peter Bradley Foundation*
  • Post Polio Support Group
  • Rathmines Community Partnership*
  • Reach Ireland
  • Rehab Group
  • Royal Hospital Donnybrook
  • Schizophrenia Ireland
  • Shannon Community Workshops Ltd
  • Sophia Housing Association Ltd
  • Special Olympics Ireland
  • Spinal Injuries Ireland
  • St Catherine''s Association
  • St Gabriel''s School and Centre
  • St Michael''s House
  • Vantastic
  • Vergemount Housing Fellowship
  • Walkinstown Association
  • West Limerick Community Workshop
  • Western Care Association

* Associated Members


Supporting Organisations to Enable People with Disabilities An Advocate for the Voluntary Disability Sector

Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) is the national support organisation and advocate for voluntary disability organisations in Ireland who provide services to people with disabilities and disabling conditions.

  • Hidden
  • Intellectual
  • Mental Health
  • Physical
  • Sensory
  • Emotional

Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) works to ensure that Irish society is fully inclusive of people with disabilities and disabling conditions so that they can exercise fully their civil, social and human rights. In pursuit of this vision:

  • DFI acts as an advocate for the voluntary disability sector.
  • Supports organisations to further enable people with disabilities

DFI represents and supports over 150 voluntary disability organisations and groups of which 70 comprise its National Council, and a further 40 are Associate Members. It also works with and supports many other organisations and groups around the country that have a significant and growing disability interest. DFI provides:

  • Information
  • Training and Support
  • Organisation and Management Development
  • Research and Policy Development
  • Advocacy and Representation
  • Networking

DFI also supports the broad voluntary disability sector through its representation of the disability interest in the Social Partnership process, the HSE and other fora at regional, national and European level.

Fumbally Court, Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8
Tel: 01-4547978
Fax: 01-4547981