DFI calls on Government to Invest in Personal and Social Services in Budget 2015

September 23 2014

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Press Release by the Disability Federation of Ireland

23rd September 2014; Dublin

The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) today called for the Government to invest in personal and social services that have been decimated by previous Budgets and the recession, not just for people with disabilities, but for the benefit of society as a whole.

John Dolan, CEO of DFI stated “It is welcome respite for people with disabilities that the feared €2bn downward adjustment from services and tax cuts is not needed next year, but it is no more than just respite. People with disabilities have been hit by the effects of continuous cuts and increasing charges and taxes since 2008, along with increasing levels of unmet need. Health, education and other vital services are no longer sustainable and will consistently fail to meet people’s needs unless their stabilization is prioritised in Budget 2015 with commitment to long term investment over the coming years.”

He continued “The priority of Government is to get people back into paid employment and to ensure that people who have emigrated can return to Ireland, and this is welcomed. However, people with disabilities did not lose their jobs as so many of them did not have jobs to begin with, with only 20% of people with disabilities in employment. They could not emigrate to find better supports and services elsewhere, although 40% of people are very dissatisfied with the quality of services being provided. Nearly 50% of people with a disability are at risk of deprivation, struggling with the costs of adequate clothing and heating, and cannot afford to eat a meal with meat or fish every second day. Action needs to commence to restore public and social services that are there for all of us when we need them. There are not ‘services for the disabled’ in society, there are services for all citizens of Ireland if and when they are needed. Each one of us needs those services to be available.”

Talking about the upcoming Budget, Mr Dolan stated;
"In Budget 2014, the Government concentrated on economic concerns verses investment in services and supports. We do not want this to happen again in Budget 2015, and for people to continue worrying about the state of our health and social services. Many people and families will experience disability for the first time in 2015 and the unrelenting pressure and struggle that goes with this, with one in every eight people having a disability in Ireland. Next year, over 4,000 people will be diagnosed with Alzheimer's, 10,000 people will have a stroke, one baby in every 600 will be born with Down Syndrome. All of these people need to have access to services that are vital to help them maintain a quality of life."

He concluded “A recent Red C poll in the Sunday Business Post shows that people are appreciating the importance of urgent investment in public services. The Government needs to use this Budget to demonstrate its intent. If it does not take action now, people with disabilities and countless others including family members and carers, will show their discontent when the General Election happens in 2016. Hopefully the recession is over, but the aftermath is being endured with anger and disgust at the lack of investment. Let’s stimulate sustainable growth through investing in our public services for the benefit of all, and ensure that people with disabilities are not being left behind.”

For contact:

John Dolan, CEO DFI, 086-7957467

Jacqueline Grogan, Communciations Officer, 086- 3882600