01/07/08 - Disability Services Seriously Threatened in 2008

July 1 2008


1st July 2008

The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) expressed serious concerns about the current and future funding of the sector to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children to day. (3 pm)

John Dolan CEO stated "HSE has imposed a 1% cut on all current funding to disability services, amounting to €25m; furthermore DFI anticipates that €50m Multi Annual Funding allocated by the Oireachts to fund services to people with disabilities in Budget 08, will not be released but used instead to address overruns elsewhere in the health services. In total disability services could loose €75m in 08 alone - and this is deplorable and unacceptable."

John Dolan, Chief Executive of the DFI went on to say "the Programme for Government states that 'Government is determined to continue to prioritise the interests of people with disabilities over the next five years'. It is now time for the Government to show that determination and release the €50m due in 08 for disability services and immediately scrap the 1% cut in services."

The paper that DFI presented to the Joint Oireachtas Committee stated that "It must be acknowledged that the ongoing reform programme within the HSE, when viewed against the significant extra demands that the Disability Strategy alone is putting on it, is having a detrimental impact on the implementation of the Disability Strategy".

John Dolan went on the say, "we are calling on the Government to maintain, as a top priority, all of its commitments to the disability sector and to the 400,000 Irish people who experience some level of disability – as well as to their carers and families. People with disability and their families will experience the brunt of these severe cut backs."

DFI estimates that if the 1% cut in spending is maintained, it will equate to a €150m reduction in expenditure, over the remainder of the National Development Plan (NDP). If the €50m(referred to above) is not released it will equate to a loss of €300m over the remainder of the National Disability Plan.