DFI Highlights Huge Concern at Withdrawal of Government Funding to Disability Sector

July 10 2014

Press and media

Press Release

Dublin, 9 July 2014

The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) today urged the newly formed Cabinet to reinstate funding to 26 organisations supporting people with disabilities.

26 disability and caring-focused organisations saw their funding revoked in the allocations for the 2014-2016 round of Scheme to Support National Organisations (SSNO), at a total loss of approximately €1.2m annually. DFI is calling on the new Cabinet, expected to be announced today, to enact measures to restore this funding.

The call came at a DFI event in Buswells Hotel, attended by representatives of the affected organisations. Huge concern was raised at the impact the withdrawal of funding will immediately bear on the thousands of people they support: several organisations, including the Irish Deaf Society, Huntington’s Disease Association and Muscular Dystrophy Ireland, have been forced to reduce or even close some of their services and supports, with many more likely to do the same in the near future. Many of the organisations used these grants to finance essential services in the community, such as family support work or health and advocacy services; these are vital in allowing disabled people to live with the independence and well-being they are entitled to.

Chief Executive of DFI, John Dolan, explained, “SSNO funding has played a pivotal role in building the mainstreaming community infrastructure which people with disabilities and their families need and now rely on; many disability organisations have been left either stranded or struggling following the decisions made in this round. This is an issue that requires immediate and determined action”.

This sentiment was reflected by many organisations, including the Neurological Alliance of Ireland (NAI), who stated, “Eleven neurological organisations applied for funding and all eleven were turned down. This has had a decimating effect on the neurological sector and will lead to the closure of operations of the national umbrella body for the neurological sector”.

The stress and anxiety that the funding withdrawals have incurred was also highly evident. Catherine Aspel of Brí, an organisation supporting those living with brain injury, explained, “The loss of the SSNO funding is a major setback, coming on top of numerous other cuts which had already put us under enormous pressure. We lost our office and two of our staff as a result, leaving us and those we support in a hugely difficult and uncertain situation”.

Mr Dolan continued, “The challenges facing people with disabilities and the organisations working with them have yet again been ignored by Government, and the effect this imposes on the performance of the National Disability Strategy (NDS) cannot be undervalued. This has to change: there are no excuses. The new Cabinet should use this opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to people with disabilities by reinstating this funding; we cannot let this hugely serious issue to slip between the cracks. The future of this country is bound up with whether we are going to be an open, inclusive and participatory society; there will be no future for people with disabilities if the supports and services they require continue to be demolished in this way”.

He concluded, “The whole incident highlights the need that the Government’s own implementation mechanisms for the NDS are comprehensively implemented. The situation clearly demonstrates the need for a Minister of Disability Inclusion to be instated, bringing disability issues to the Cabinet table and safeguarding core services in the sector”.



• John Dolan, Chief Executive of DFI; 086 795 7467

• Allen Dunne, Deputy Chief Executive of DFI; 086 850 2112

• Joanne McCarthy, Senior Executive Officer (Policy and Research); 086 044 0178

Notes for editors

• The 26 disability and caring-orientated organisations which lost their funding are:

  1. Acquired Brain Injury Ireland
  2. Alzheimer Society of Ireland
  3. Arthritis Ireland
  4. Aspire
  5. Brí - The Acquired Brain Injury Advocacy Association
  6. Centre for Independent Living
  7. Chronic Pain Ireland
  8. Disability Federation of Ireland
  9. Dyslexia Association of Ireland
  10. Genetic and Rare Disorders Organisation
  11. GROW
  12. Huntington’s Disease Association of Ireland
  13. INCADDS (Irish National Council of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder Support Groups)
  14. Irish Autism Action
  15. Irish Deaf Society
  16. Irish Heart Foundation
  17. Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association
  18. Irish Stammering Association
  19. Migraine Association of Ireland
  20. MS Society of Ireland
  21. Muscular Dystrophy Ireland
  22. National Association for Spina Bifida & Hydrocephalus Ireland
  23. Neurological Alliance of Ireland
  24. Post Polio Support Group
  25. The Asthma Society of Ireland
  26. The Carers Association

Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) is the national support organisation for voluntary disability organisations in Ireland who provide services to people with disabilities and disabling conditions.

Disability Federation of Ireland, Fumbally Court, Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8. Telephone: 01 – 4547978, Fax: 01 – 4547981,

Email: info@disability-federation.ie, Web: www.disability-federation.ie

Disability Federation of Ireland, is a company limited by guarantee not having share capital, registered in Dublin, Ireland with registered offices at Fumbally Court, Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8.

Company Registration Number 140948, CHY No 6177.