DFI Annual Report 2020

Issued on July 15 2021

A Letter from our Chairperson


2020 was the year of Covid for DFI and its organisations. It also brought a new government, commitments to implement the UN CRPD and an Oireachtas committee dedicated to monitoring the implementation of the CRPD. This was a ground-breaking achievement for DFI and something we had been seeking for some time.

Our organisations proved their worth as vital services to people with disabilities as the pandemic closed down the country. We supported them as they effectively responded by reconfiguring their services and assisting the national effort to address Covid 19. Renewing our relationship with our organisations and helping to ensure they have the skills, capability and resources to support people with disabilities is a priority for our new strategic plan.

The year ended with some pay restoration to Section 39 staff. This assists us in retaining skilled staff but falls far short of reversing the cuts imposed over the past decade. Restoration of funding for necessary services is urgently needed. A new relationship between the statutory health services and funded organisations, as recommended by the Independent Review Group in 2019, is absolutely essential.

The year was horrid, and the effects on staff, volunteers, people with disabilities and their families must be acknowledged and honoured. I thank the entire DFI team, staff and volunteers, and those across all our organisations for their unprecedented efforts in 2020. To those who lost a family member or a close friend I extend my deepest sympathy.

As Chairperson, I took over from Gary Lee and I wish to thank him for his dedication and service. In my new role I am fortunate to have the support of board colleagues who voluntarily give a great deal of their time and commitment to the work of DFI. I also thank the CEO, management and all the staff for their dedication and effort for our shared cause and the great flexibility they demonstrated in continuing the work of DFI in such a challenging year.

Fran Brennan