DFI and our member organisations join Ministers O'Gorman and Rabbitte at stakeholder event on the Action Plan for Disability Services

May 22 2024, 05:15pm

Action Plan event Elaine on 22 May 2024

DFI and a number of our Member Organisation were in attendance at a stakeholder event on the Action Plan for Disability Services which was hosted today, Wednesday 22 May, by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth and which was attended by Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, and Minister of State with special responsibility for Disability Anne Rabbitte. 

Launched in December, the Action Plan aims to grow capacity in specialist disability services as well as reform the model of service delivery with a focus on sustainability.

Today’s stakeholder event brought together a broad section of service users and delivery partners to discuss how best to implement the Plan and drive its reform agenda to 2026. Representation on the day came from the Disabled Person’s Organisations, service provider organisations, disability advocacy groups, Health Service Executive, statutory organisations such as the NDA and HIQA as well as Government Departments.

Approximately 80 delegates were in attendance to provide the benefit of their experience and expertise in order to help drive delivery of the Action Plan collaboratively and in partnership. Elaine Teague, CEO of DFI and Dr Emer Begley, Director of Advocay joined members of our policy team and other delegates to discuss the implementation of the Plan over the next three years under current service models, but will also explore how a reformed model of service delivery might achieve more service capacity, whilst also ensuring sustainability for service providers into the future.

DFI Members sharing their experiences 

Also in attendance at today's stakeholder event were a number of DFI members who shared their experiences and expertise to inform implementation of the Action Plan. In attendance were:

  • Rosaleen Bradley, CEO of Donegal Centre for Independent Living
  • Matthew Tuohy, Partnership Engagement Manager with the Anne Sullivan Centre for People who are DeafBlind       
  • Ava Battles, CEO of MS Ireland              
  • Treasa McAuliffe, CEO of St. Gabriel's Fundation     
  • Liz Maher , CEO of Ak Inspired Ability           
  • Carol O'Donnell , CEO of Dara Community Living      
  • James Forbes, Director of Social Care with Child Vision               
  • Kerry Mallon, Operational Director of Positive Futures             
  • Gráinne McGettrick, Research and Policy Officer with Acquired Brain Injury Ireland  

Implementation of the Action Plan 

It is intended that close collaboration with disabled people and delivery partners will continue throughout the implementation of the current plan and into the development its successor plan for the post-2026 period.

The Disability Action Plan was launched in December 2023 and represents the first phase of implementation of the recommendations of the Disability Capacity Review. The plan contains ambitious targets for service expansion, as well as a route for making services more person-centred, in the spirit of the UNCRPD, through strategic innovation and policy reform.

Speaking at the event Minister O’Gorman said. “I am extremely proud to have launched the Action Plan for Disability Services 2024-2026 within 9 months of the transfer of functions taking place. It is very much my intention that disabled people, as well as our other key delivery partners, will have a voice and role as we move forward in implementing this plan. This event will be the first of many engagements to come as we progress the Action Plan and I look forward to meeting and speaking with delegates today.”

Minister Rabbitte said, “If there is one thing people with disabilities and their families continue to feed back to me it is that they need better access to services. With this Action Plan we will provide just that, with more funding and more resources to increase service capacity. We also want to give people who use disability services more choice and more control in the services they use. I look forward to hearing from the delegates at this event as we move into the implementation phase of this Action Plan.”

Tributes to former DFI CEO John Dolan 

John Dolan, former CEO of the Disability Federation of Ireland was also in attendace and both Ministers took the time to acknowledge his contribution to the disabled community. They also wished him well for his retirement. Minister O'Gorman offered particular words of thanks to John for his support to him since he took over the brief in DCEDIY. John delivered an address at today's event. 


Image: Photo shows DFI CEO Elaine Teague; former DFI CEO John Dolan and Colm Ó'Conall of DCEDIY at today's event.