Minister Anne Rabbitte tells DFI AGM “my door will be open”
June 11 2021, 02:55pm
The Minister of State for Disability, Anne Rabbitte really engaged with DFI members and their concerns at our AGM on 10th, June 2021.
She said that reform and ensuring the sustainability of the disability sector needs to happen now, in tandem with implementing the Capacity Review.
Replying to questions about about the longstanding funding deficits of €40 million in the disability sector the Minister said, 'you can't be expected to deliver services on a shoestring'.
In comments that are welcomed by DFI on behalf of our members, Minister Rabbitte said that reform and ensuring the sustainability of the disability sector needs to happen now.
Mapping Disability Services
She outlined her plan to map disability services, to get further clarity on where different types of supports are available. It will be done as a visual map, like a weather chart with imagery where you can see the activity and gaps. She stated that the gaps are already emerging.
For example, there are clear gaps in neurological services. She pledged to follow through on the neuro-rehabilitation strategy. She said she is keen to build on the experience in the East where teams have been put in place. The cost of these teams was estimated at about €380,000 by the Minister. She hopes to see them expand into Cork and Galway. The aim is to ensure that people have the best chance to stay at home.
Speaking during carers week, she said; “Carers aren’t getting sufficient respite, people are tired. I want to acknowledge that”.
She stressed the importance of working with other government departments and mentioned housing as one priority area. She is talking to Minister Dara O’Brien about the new Housing Strategy for People with Disabilities.
“Housing is not in fact the greatest challenge” she said. Going on to explain that health support packages were often a greater obstacle to people moving out of institutional care. “They can be very expensive in some cases”.
She broadly agreed with our Head of Policy, Dr Joanne McCarthy when she highlighted the need for more “stitching” between services such as housing and home support.