Organisations Representing 800,000 People with Disabilities issue Joint Statement to Government

September 14 2011


15th September 2011, issue from Young Communications at 09.30 a.m. embargo to 11 a.m.

Ten of the leading umbrella organisations, in the Disability Sector, met in Dublin this morning (11a.m. Thursday 15th, Buswell’s Hotel) to issue a joint statement of concern, regarding economic and service issues, now confronting hundreds of thousands of people. The organisations involved are, Care Alliance Ireland, CIL Carmichael House, Disability Federation of Ireland, Genetic & Rare Disorders Organisation, Inclusion Ireland, Mental Health Reform, Neurological Alliance of Ireland, People with Disabilities in Ireland, The National Federation of Voluntary Bodies, The Not for Profit Business Association.

The full text of the statement follows below:

“Preventing the Collapse of Ireland’s Disability Strategy, Joint Statement

We the under-signed national voluntary disability organisations, representing the diversity of people with disabilities and disabling conditions including mental health, make this joint statement to Government regarding Budget 2012.

Disability is not a sectoral issue; it is a social issue. 18.5% of the Irish population have one or more disabilities, and the percentage is increasing as our population ages.

The Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and the Programme for Government have named people with disabilities including mental health as the Government’s social justice priority. Yet the Government cannot tell what has been the impact of the recession on this historically disadvantaged group. The adverse effects have been obscured by the absence of clear lines of accountability and ineffective monitoring of outcomes for people with disabilities.

Those of us in the sector however are acutely aware of the effect of the cumulative reductions in essential income and service supports on people with disabilities that have occurred since the onset of the recession in 2008. It is our view that further pressure on people with disabilities would be unsustainable. We consider Ireland’s National Disability Strategy to be on the point of collapse into empty promises.

We jointly call on the Government, through the Comprehensive Review Expenditure and Budget 2012, to deliver on its social justice priority, and ensure that “the quality of life of people with disabilities is enhanced” in Budget 2012. [Programme for Government, page 54]

Action by the Government is urgently needed to:

  1. Halt reductions in the income supports for people with disabilities dependent on benefits.
    People with disabilities are most likely to experience real poverty because on top of the recent cuts in benefit levels and new charges, they have to pay for extras required due to their disability.
  2. Maintain funding for the services needed by people with disabilities.
    Cutting the services required by people with disabilities not only undermines their lives, it also leads to a growing public burden in terms of hospital stays and expensive care costs
  3. Publish and Implement Plan for the National Disability Strategy and incorporate it into Budget decision-making by all Departments and public agencies.
    Ireland must plan for this long period of austerity in a manner that protects services and supports for people with disabilities and ensures that real progress is achievable when economic conditions ease.”

15th September 2011

(The statement has been signed by a representative of all the listed organisations)


Note 1 - Pics from Jason Clarke Photography.

Note 2 - Organisations involved, with contact persons and numbers, listed below.

For contact:

Wally Young, Young Communications, 087-2471520
Allen Dunne, Deputy CEO DFI, 086-8502112

Full list of spokespersons representing the 10 organisations:

Disability Federation of Ireland, (DFI), John Dolan at 086 8370072

Mental Health Reform, Natalie Buhl at 085 7446696.

Neurological Alliance of Ireland, Denise Dunne at 086 121 6957

Genetic & Rare Disorders Organisation, Judy Windle 087 1348146

People with Disabilities in Ireland, Morgan McKnight 087 9306814

CIL Carmichael, Tom King 086 3517365

Care Alliance Ireland, Liam O'Sullivan at 087 2073265

The National Federation of Voluntary Bodies, Brian O’Donnell at 087 8208050

Inclusion Ireland, Deirdre Carroll, 01-855 9891

The Not for Profit Business Association, Des Kenny at 086 2413746