DFI launches report highlighting importance of personal assistant services for people with disabilities

February 6 2014

Press and media

Press Release

Dublin, Thursday 6th February 2014

Today, Thursday 6th February, the Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) launched a report highlighting the importance of community based services and supports in disability services, in particular the Personal Assistance (PA) service.

John Dolan, CEO of DFI stated “The PA service has, and continues to, form the backbone of community services and supports that enable people to live independently in the community, supporting people’s choice and control. It allows people to engage more equally with other family members, their community, and with their employers. However, over the last few years, this service has been squeezed and cut back, and this is undermining people’s capacity to live independently in their own communities.”

He continued “This research highlights the essential role that this service plays for people with disabilities. It demonstrates how people with disabilities are embracing the concept of independent living in their own communities, and highlights how a PA service is distinct and unique from a care or home support service. The service enables people with disabilities to participate as full citizens, and therefore should be protected and developed.”

Speaking about the research, he said “The research reveals how the Personal Assistant programme empowers individuals to engage and contribute to society because they can lead and direct the service to support them most usefully. However, the research also indicates that this disability-specific social inclusion measure is being undermined by financial and regulatory constraints. If the Government is serious about ensuring that everyone in Ireland has opportunities to flourish, it must revitalise and enhance the Personal Assistance service.”

Laura Leeson, one of the research participants said “Running my own PA service has allowed me to live my life, my way.”

John Dolan concluded “The undervaluing of the PA service is symptomatic of what is happening in other community based services, and this is undermining the Government policy of mainstreaming and social inclusion. People with disabilities expect to be able to pursue ordinary lives like everyone else, but the cumulative cutbacks on services like the PA service has instead severely curtailed their lives.”

Note to editor: Copies of the report will be available on the day


For further information, please contact:

John Dolan, CEO, 086 795 7467

Allen Dunne, Deputy CEO 086 850 2112

Click here for Access to Life: Personal Assistant Services in Ireland and Independent Living by People with Physical and Sensory Disabilities