02/10/08 - DFI Demands Return of Disability Funding - €83m diverted to other sectors
October 2 2008
Press Statement from Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI)
2nd October 2008
At least €83m of allocated funding for disability and mental health services has been taken by the HSE and diverted to other areas since the beginning of last year. The revelation came today as the Disability Federation Ireland (DFI) held their Pre-Budget Discussion Forum at the Mansion House. Disability organisations from around the country came together to express their deep concern and anger over the immense impact these cuts are having on the thousands of vulnerable disabled people in Irish society – as well as their families and carers. Much of the this funding was intended to provide basic services such as residential, day care and respite places as well as much needed Personal Assistance for people unable to live independently.
There are currently 393,785 people with disabilities living in Ireland which accounts for approximately 10% of the population. Speaking at today’s meeting John Dolan, Chief Executive of DFI, noted
‘the Government’s strong action to act as guarantor to the banking and commercial sector’
He went on to say
"Government does not run the Banks yet it considered it necessary to come to their aid in the interest of the country. It is time that they take similar action and guarantee that disabled people get back the funding that it allocated to them”
“To take €83m from one of the most vulnerable sectors in our society is a scandal and is totally unacceptable”
DFI is seeking a commitment that the National Disability Strategy will be implemented as promised in the Programme for Government. In the light of recent discussions and cuts there were growing concerns that the specifics of the Strategy and the vision of Towards 2016 are largely being ignored. This is of immense concern to thousands of people and organisations all around the country.
John Dolan CEO Disability Federation of Ireland 01 4547978 / 086 8370072
Allen Dunne, Deputy CEO, Disability Federation of Ireland, 086 8502112
Wally Young, Young Communications, 01 6680530 / 087 2471520