Serious Concerns among Disabled People about Service Cuts
December 6 2011
Press Release 14th September 2009
“Over the coming weeks the national debate will focus on Lisbon and NAMA - but for disabled people their concerns and fears will be around the reneging on promises and the decimation of the long awaited improvements in the services that they need to simply live and participate.”
John Dolan, Chief Executive of the DFI said today,
"The next Budget has the capacity to derail one of the Government’s priority policy areas namely the National Disability Strategy. Huge investment has been put into improving the lives of disabled people over the past decade and they have dared to hope that soon they would be free and equal citizens. The recent singular focus on rescuing our banks has dashed the hopes of disabled people and their families all around the country"
Given, the cuts to disability services so far, the “Mc Carthy Report” recommendations, the planning to cut up to €1bn from health and consideration of further social welfare cuts the National Disability Strategy (NDS) will be lost. Vital services will be withdrawn, people with disabilities will be forced to do without or to become dependent on support from family and friends.
As things stand this is what is most likely to happen. It need not be so. Government needs to come out urgently and declare it’s intention to protect the NDS and put a plan in place immediately which will direct and support all Departments as they prepare for the Budget.
Such a plan needs to have three key action areas.
- Firstly, pay levels must be considered before any consideration of reductions in services.
- Secondly, all Departments and State Agencies must disability proof all their plans and services to ensure that they are improving services to disabled people.
- Thirdly, a programme of active cooperation and collaboration between all state and voluntary organisations needs to commence.
We commenced this recession with a massive level of deficit in services to disabled people. Reducing services now causes hardship and loss to people and hugely increases the cost of rebuilding services after the recession.
John Dolan went on to say,
"Where is the sense in making skilled people unemployed, causing hardship and loss to disabled people and making the cost and effort in restoring services way more expensive after the recession? There will be a massive economic and social cost if necessary services are not protected."
Note: DFI is a member of the Community and Voluntary Pillar of Social Partnership who also issued a statement on the vulnerable in our society to-day
For Contact/interview, John Dolan, Chief Executive, DFI, 086-8370072