Major Concerns About Further Cuts in Disability Services

December 6 2011


Statement from Disability Federation of Ireland

2nd December 2009, embargo to 12 noon

The Disability Federation of Ireland has invited all members of the Oireachtas to a briefing in Buswells Hotel today, to again highlight the very serious concerns throughout the sector about further cuts in services. (12-2pm, Wednesday 2nd December)

The McCarthy Report recommends a further saving of €50m in the funding given to voluntary agencies providing services for people with disability. However, at least €170m designated funding for services for people with disabilities, has been denied since 2007. John Dolan, Chief Executive of the DFI said today,

"A large number of DFI member organisations provide invaluable services to people with disabilities and their families. We must protect the front line services to people with disabilities. However, many organisations also help people to learn to live with their disabilities, to access primary health services, slow down the progression of acute conditions and generally assist people in avoiding entering acute health services. Through working with other voluntary organisations and with the aid of State agencies, such as HSE Primary Care Teams and local authorities, these localised community based disability organisations play a necessary and practical role in finding best possible solutions for people with disabilities."

DFI is well aware of the massive economic challenges facing this State - and the protection of our health and personal social services as part of the economic recovery is paramount. We urge extreme caution on making hasty cuts to services now, which will cost the health services much more to rebuild in the years ahead. No decision taken now should dilute services to people with disabilities and damage a valuable community based support infrastructure which is now a critical element of the services to people with disabilities.

Note to Editors

The voluntary sector has had to absorb a series of funding cuts in disability services over recent years. The Comptroller and Auditor General 2007 Annual Report revealed that the HSE "saved" €53million by not spending funds voted for disability and mental health services. In 2008, a further €17 million of the Multi Annual Funding (MAF) commitment for that year was not spent. The Budget for 2009 allocated none of the €50 million that was due under MAF. In addition, funding to voluntary disability organisations was reduced by 3% in 2009, amounting to a loss of approximately €45 million. A specific commitment of €8.5 million to fund emergency places for people with disabilities in fact only yielded €3 million for the sector, with the rest diverted elsewhere in the HSE. In brief, disability services provided by the voluntary sector have already faced a shortfall of at least €170 million compared to what had been committed by Government.


For contact, John Dolan, CEO, DFI, 086-8370072
Allen Dunne, Deputy CEO, DFI, 086-8502112
Wally Young, Young Communications, 01 6680530 / 087-2471520