Statement from the DFI on withheld payments for people with disability in residential care

February 3 2023, 03:10pm

DFI statement quote  (1)

The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) finds the revelations in the RTÉ Primetime investigation regarding the historical denial of payments to 12,000 disabled people living in institutional care to be deeply troubling.  

The case highlights historical and more recent approaches to deny disabled people their rights. The line taken by the State to stop the disability maintenance payment on admission to long-term care and the subsequent legal approach and lack of State action to address the discrepancy is particularly distressing when the people affected were often living with significant disability and not in a position to advocate for themselves.  

Ireland is approaching the 5th anniversary of the State’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, UN CRPD. The convention places an onus on the State to recognize the right of persons with disabilities to social protection and to the enjoyment of that right without discrimination.  Disabled people continue to be at a much higher risk of poverty and continue to face barriers to full inclusion.  

DFI is now calling for:  

  • The identification of all those impacted through the planned review.  While estimated to be 12,000 people, this number needs to be confirmed using historical records.  
  • Trust to be established with this process and therefore it needs to be undertaken in a transparent and timely way with appropriate communication with those impacted.  
  • An examination of how the issue was handled in the intervening years. 
  • A process of statutory repayment.   

People with disabilities need to hear a clear message from the State that there is a commitment to the full implementation of the UN CRPD and to upholding the rights of disabled people.