Presentation by DFI to Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health
November 8 2012
'The patient will be dead before Ireland’s austerity medicine works' – that is the message John Dolan, CEO of the Disability Federation of Ireland gave to members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health earlier today.
'The social supports infrastructure that enables people with disabilities in particular to live with a modicum of decency has been so damaged by the expenditure reductions imposed over the past four years, that any further cuts will push many people over the edge. The Government’s fixation on cutting the budget at the expense of basic social standards will fail to protect Ireland’s prospects and long term health'.
Mr Dolan pointed out, “Most people are affected by the current recession, but those with disabilities, who are particularly reliant on Government supports, have been hit from every direction – in benefit levels, charges for services, cuts in mainstream services and cuts in disability specific services. They also are hit by the effects of the recession on their families.”
He told the Oireachtas members that 'further attacks on the ability of people with disabilities to live ordinary, dignified lives in Budget 2013 are not only inhumane but bad economics. For example, cutting back on personal assistants and home supports inevitably results in increased admissions to hospitals and long term care'.
Mr Dolan proposed that the Oireachtas Committee and the Government 'recognise and develop the value for money investment in community-based services that are enabling people with disabilities to build and maintain productive lives'.
He added that 'getting disability policy right isn’t just a sectoral issue, that disability and mental health issues are risks / contingencies that every person in Ireland faces. We all need the protection that the publically funded disability infrastructure provides'.
He concluded by asking the Committee members to make a choice, to decide whether further cuts to the disability-specific and mainstream health services relied upon by people with disabilities are worth the risk of not only delivering more misery to many people next year, but also undermining Ireland’s social infrastructure for many years to come.
John Dolan, CEO, 086 7957467
Allen Dunne, Deputy CEO, 086 8502112