Statement from Disability Federation of Ireland, Thursday 14th October 2010

October 14 2010


People with Disability are terrified about possibility of further cuts in services

Politicians from across the political divide were told today that people with disability are terrified about the possibility of further cuts to their services. The politicians were attending a pre-budget presentation by the Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) in the Mansion House, Dublin. (1pm, Thurs 14th)

Speaking at the launch, John Dolan, Chief Executive of the DFI said today,

“As our public representatives, you will be aware that people with disability around the country are terrified about the possibility of further cuts to their services. This same level of anxiety and uncertainty is also shared by families and carers. This forthcoming budget statement needs to bring certainty and hope back into the lives of these people. As politicians, you are the only people who can do that”

At the presentation today, DFI made it clear it was speaking out for people with all forms of disability and mental health needs, as well as the families that provide care and support on a daily basis. They were also speaking out for:

  • For the significant extra contribution that voluntary disability organisations make
  • For people with all forms of disability and mental health needs, and the families that try to support them on a day to day basis.
  • The 40,000 full time carers
  • The countless disabled people who support each other within organisations and informally
  • The 9,500 St Vincent de Paul volunteers who provide ongoing support to disabled people
  • The thousands of volunteers across the country who work with voluntary disability organisations
  • For all those employed in the health and social services who give voluntary effort beyond that required of them
  • And others, such as good neighbours, who provide ongoing support, especially in rural Ireland

John Dolan went on to say,

“Ireland is in a perilous position today. The Government is right when it says we all have to reconsider what we do and how we do it if we are to survive to another, better day. But surely we have to think long term about actions we take in the short term. The National Disability Strategy, which has begun to be implemented, must not be cast aside as ‘unaffordable’. As stated in its renewed programme, the Government “will strongly progress the NDS in parallel with Ireland’s economic recovery.” This means preventing erosion, even when times are tough, and building further as soon as times allow”.

In their presentation DFI stressed the need for The Croke Park Agreement to embrace the NDS if the Strategy is not to be compromised by cuts in the quantity and quality of publicly funded services. The NDS is about enabling people with disabilities to have opportunities as equal citizens, and surely there must be no going back on this. For its part, the voluntary disability sector is ready to make the changes essential to sustain the NDS through the current period of fiscal difficulty.

John Dolan said,

“We have the Croke Park Agreement (CPA) where the government committed to, no cuts in public service pay and pensions, no compulsory public service redundancies, and pay increases linked to changes in ways of working and productivity gains. We must ask here today: ‘Where are the specific commitments to service outcomes? Where are the commitments to outcomes for people with disabilities?’ Our concern is how can these pay related commitments be achieved, while at the same time ensuring that Government protects the National Disability Strategy? We need clarity on these critical issues, or people with disability will live in state of uncertainty and lack of hope in the coming years - and this is simply unacceptable”


For contact,

Allen Dunne, Deputy Chief Executive, DFI, 086-8502112

John Dolan, Chief Executive, DFI, 086-8370072

Tim Ryan, Ryan Communications, 087-2471423

Wally Young, Young Communications, 087-2471520