Thank you for being part of our email campaign calling for action on the crisis in disability services

August 9 2023, 10:53am

Take Action Email campaign thank you

On 1 June, DFI launched an email campaign for those concerned about the viability of disability services which are threatened by the ongoing recruitment and retention issues in Section 39 disability funded organisations.

The online email tool was made available for people to complete and to send automatically to TDs and Senators in their local constituency asking them to take action on this crisis. The email reminded TDs and Senators that the Government has a commitment to provide sustainable quality services as outlined in the current Programme for Government and the Department of Health’s Disability Capacity Review (2021) and that none of this can happen if organisations cannot recruit and retain the staff needed to deliver their existing funded services.    

The specific asks in each email sent to TDs and Senators were: 

“Government action is needed to bring this issue to resolution, including: 

  • A formal agreement to address the pay disparity of Section 39 organisations. 
  • A multi-annual, sustainable funding model for voluntary organisations. 
  • A review of the out-of-date Health Act (2004), which does not reflect the reality and essential nature of services provided by Section 39 organisations.    

The email campaign took place from 1 June to the Summer recess with an official end date of 31 July 2023.

We finished the campaign with a total of 3,327 emails sent to TDs and Senators! 

The DFI email campaign conclued as the pay talks between the unions and the Government relating to the funding of staff in voluntary Section 39 funded organisations broke down. 

Commenting on the talks, John Dolan, DFI CEO said, "The erosion of services to people with disabilities is set to escalate now that the pay talks, on Monday 31 July 2023, between the unions and the Government relating to the funding of staff in voluntary Section 39 funded organisations has broken down.

"There is deep disappointment across the sector at the long-awaited, and much delayed pay offer to unions which fell far short of what is required. 

"People with disabilities and their families are bearing the brunt of the continued delays in resolving this issue. 

"The growing disparity between pay rates for staff in Section 39 funded voluntary organisations and the HSE is making it impossible for them to continue to provide the current level of essential services to disabled people. They and their families are under enormous strain while this goes on.

John went on to say, "Voluntary Section 39 funded organisations can neither retain nor recruit staff under the existing funding arrangement.  The Government is set to launch the Action Plan for the Disability Capacity Review to 2032 which will outline the future service requirements for people with disabilities over the next 10 years. The plan will sit on the shelf until Government provides an equitable level of funding to ensure that current service provision is protected and sustainable.

"Government action is urgently needed to bring this growing inequality in government funded service provision to an end and to prevent the imminent loss of vital services.

"The Disability Federation of Ireland will continue to work with its member organisations and on behalf of disabled people and their families to get this resolved."