Budget Press Release from the Disability Federation of Ireland

October 10 2017


Immediate Release, Oct. 10th 2017

Click here for our Summary of Key Disability Budgets Points

“One for everyone in the audience” Budget ’18 leaves an ocean of unmet need in disability 

Today’s budget will not stop the rising wave of poverty for people with disabilities, said the Disability Federation of Ireland, DFI.  

The budget was characterised as “one for everyone in the audience” by DFI. They suggest that instead of spreading resources thinly and ineffectively, budgets should make a real difference for those living with the most inequality. Currently many of these are people with a disability. 

“There is a crisis in crumbling disability services with the same root cause as the housing crisis,” said DFI’s Deputy CEO, Allen Dunne.  “During the recession support was severely cut and has never recovered.” 

We see the evidence in a disability specific rising wave of poverty. The consistent poverty rate for people with disabilities has been rising not falling as the economy improves; it rose from 14% to 22% in 2015 alone. “The €5 a week on Disability Allowance is welcome but falls far short of the €20 increase we deemed necessary”, said Allen Dunne.  

Ironically the crisis in disability services is largely hidden from public view due to the crumbling services. For example: 

  • People with disabilities who would lead productive and independent lives are trapped in their homes, residential homes or nursing homes due to a lack of Personal Assistant hours. Budget 2018 makes no mention of funding for PA and Home Supports.  
  • 7,600 people with disabilities are on the social housing waiting list, so even if the extra 4,000 social housing units announced in Budget 2018 were allocated for people with disabilities it would not be enough.  
  • The budget is silent on making houses accessible in the private rental sector. 
  • 1 in 4 people do not use public transport because they do not find it accessible. A lack of fully accessible public transport means people with disabilities cannot get out.  
  • Chronic underfunding of assistive technologies stops people from participating in their community. 

DFI pointed to the need for an investment in a dramatic overhaul of disability services and our dated approach to them. In the long run this will lead to more fulfilling lives for people with disabilities and savings for the taxpayer. “The interests of the two groups are one and the same” said DFI’s Deputy CEO.  

There are over 640,000 people living in Ireland today with a disability. Four out of five acquired their disability during their working lives and another 56,000 will be diagnosed with a disability this year alone. There is no “Them” and “Us” in disability, it is in all our interests to address this issue properly”.  

DFI acknowledges; 

  • The increase in funding in education to support children with disabilities,  
  • The increase in 1,800 posts in frontline health services, 
  • The reduction in prescription charges from €2.50 to €2.00.  

We will welcome getting further details on these and other measures.  

For further information contact;  

DFI Communications Manager: Clare Cronin at 01-7080108 or 086 0277824, clarecronin@disability-federation.ie or, 

Deputy Chief Executive Officer: Allen Dunne at 01-4547978 or 0868502112, allendunne@disability-federation.ie