Disability Federation of Ireland 2013 Annual Review

Issued on May 1 2014

Published May 2014


C&VCommunity and Voluntary
CEOChief Executive Officer
CESCharities Evaluation Service
CIBCitizens Information Board
CILCenter for Independent Living
CRMCustomer Relations Management
DASDevelopment and Support Services
DECLGDepartment of Environment, Community and Local Government
DESSADisability Equality Specialist Support Agency
DCENRDepartment of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
DFIDisability Federation of Ireland
DSGDisability Stakeholders Group
DSPDepartment of Social Protection
EAPNEuropean Anti-Poverty Network
EASPDEuropean Association of Service Providers for People with Disabilities
ECBEuropean Central Bank
EDFEuropean Disability Forum
EITEarly Intervention Team
EMIEuropean Movement Ireland
EUEuropean Union
GAAPGenerally Accepted Accounting Practice
HIQAHealth Information and Quality Authority
HRHuman Resource
HSEHealth Service Executive
ICSHIrish Council for Social Housing
ICTInformation and Communications Technology
ICTRGIrish Charity Tax Research Group
IMCVInstitute for Managers of C&V Organisations in Ireland
IMFInternational Monetary Fund
IMPInformation Management Performance
MEPMember of European Parliament
MoUMemorandum of Understanding
NAINeurological Alliance of Ireland
NDANational Disability Authority
NDSNational Disability Strategy
NDSIGNational Disability Strategy Stakeholders Implementation Group
NDSIPNational Disability Strategy Implementation Plan
NfPBANot for Profit Business Association
NPSDDNational Physical and Sensory Disability Database
NSAINational Standards Authority of Ireland
NUIGNational University of Ireland Galway
PAPersonal Assistant
PQASSOPractical Quality Assurance Programme for Small Organisations
ULUniversity of Limerick
UNUnited Nations
UNCRPDUnited Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
VfMValue for Money
WHOWorld Health Organisation


Table of Contents

Introduction . 1

Chairperson”s Statement 1

CEO”s Overview 4

The Year in Review 7

Policy Highlights for 2013 7

Support for Our Member Organisations 11

Strengthening the Voice, Impact and Relevance of the Disability Movement in Ireland 12

DFI: The Organisation 14

DFI Board 2013 16

National Council Member Organisations 2013 17

DFI Associates 19

Staff and Contact Details 20

Acknowledgements 22

Appendix 1: Financial Statements 23


Chairperson”s Statement

In the last year our company members received regular updates from the Board on the progress of the implementation of the Strategic and Operational Plans and they are included in our Annual Review for your consideration today. I will therefore concentrate on a few overarching areas.

2013 was a challenging year. It began with the abolishment of the Mobility Allowance and the Motorised Transport grant. These were two long-standing programmes that provided practical, person centred supports to people with disabilities where the “money followed the person”. The cut to these two schemes added to the growing concerns of the Disability Federation of Ireland that the fabric of community based services was being eroded. In response, DFI published a joint piece of research with the Not for Profit Business Association (NfPBA) "Living in the Community: Services and Supports for People with Disabilities".

The end of 2013 was as difficult as the beginning of the year, with public and political concerns being raised in relation to governance issues in two long-established voluntary disability organisations. It marked a particularly difficult time for all voluntary organisations and for people with disabilities and their families. There is much work to be done to rebuild and reconfirm the reputation of voluntary disability organisations, and DFI continues to work on this with you as members

DFI has a long track record of working on issues of governance and quality with its members. November saw the joint work with the University of Limerick (UL) come to a fitting conclusion with the conference, “Developing Successful Strategic Operations and Alliances in the Voluntary Disability Sector”. The Symposium highlighted the work that members are doing to develop their governance and quality systems and also presented research evaluating DFI's support to members on these issues.

At the end of the year, DFI published a critique of the disability commitments in the Programme for Government, “Promises, Commitments, and Delivery: Mid-Term Review of the Programme for Government” and it confirmed what is obvious to people with disabilities and their families; namely that the services and supports that they rely on are not being protected and strengthened. Sadly they are being eroded on an ongoing basis.

It is also important to state that our work spans beyond Ireland and we are actively trying to further the inclusion of people with disabilities through our European networks. During the Irish Presidency of the European Union (EU) in the first half of 2013, DFI co-hosted the European Disability Forum conference and Board meeting in Dublin. We are very clear that the future of people with disabilities in Ireland is bound up with what happens at EU level. We know full well the effects of the austerity approach currently being implemented throughout the EU and here in Ireland.

As Chairperson with the board of directors I recognise that DFI has had to deal with the serious issue of sustainability in funding. As part of the solution, it was agreed to cut pay and pensions by 9%, and to curtail increment payments. This came on top of pay cuts in excess of 6% in 2010. At the same time, I have seen that the work carried out by the staff in DFI has continued with enthusiasm and renewed commitment. I would like to acknowledge this commitment and serious contribution by staff.

A mark of DFI that I have seen over the years is its capacity to identify key causal issues and to simply get on and do something about them hand-in hand with the organisations. DFI has done this in relation to governance and quality and also in relation to community services. In a similar vein, DFI did not mince its words when it came to responding to the abolishment of the mobility schemes or in the previous year in response to the cut to the Personal Assistant (PA) programme. DFI named the impact on the lives of people and their families, and highlighted the gap between the reality of decisions made by our Government and their rhetoric of community living and inclusion.

Finally, as this is the last opportunity I will have to address you I would like to say what a privilege it has been to serve you as Chairperson of DFI. I would like to thank you the members for your support over the years. A special thanks to my colleagues on the Board of Directors for their hard work and commitment. My job as chair was made all the easier because the directors had a special dynamic that got to the heart of an issue very quickly and dealt with difference positively and creatively. A special word of thanks to John Dolan for the dedication to the disability movement especially his work for the more marginalised; for the way he made time to brief me and include me in some difficult circumstances. Nothing was too much trouble. I commend John and staff for remaining positive and focused. They deserve praise for their achievements during a very difficult year.

Thank you.

Maurice O”Connell,


CEO”s Overview

Disability is a societal issue that affects every citizen at some point or other. DFI is seeking outcomes for people with disabilities to participate equally in the community and this is reflected across our work. Many services to people with disabilities have been developed in an excluded or very constrained way, where the emphasis was primarily on protection and care. The post-United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) era is, in essence, about recognising people with disabilities as being part of their local community and having the same possibilities and hopes as everyone else. Now the challenge for organisations is to find ways to “be of service” rather than being a “service provider”, and doing it in partnership with disabled people and across a range of public services.

The disability movement has been hit hard over the past five years. The year 2012 was one of the harshest years for people with disabilities. Key budget plans in health failed to materialise, deficits rose, and major cuts to disability services were announced by the Department of Health. Meanwhile, funding for mental health and other disability services was transferred to other parts of the health system which had incurred significant deficits.

2013 has not been any easier. The abolishment of the Mobility Allowance and the Motorised Transport Grant Scheme dealt a further blow to people with disabilities, along with the cuts to special needs assistance, respite care grants, housing adaptation grants and lack of places for school-leavers with intellectual disabilities. However, as well as being affected by these cuts to disability-specific supports, people with disabilities are also substantially impacted by cutbacks to mainstream social and health services and income support which they need to access. The double disadvantage experienced by people with disabilities is a major issue which continues to be ignored.

The focus over the past number of months on CEO”s salaries and “top ups” has deflected attention from the serious funding issues that face health and other public services that are required by disabled people and their families. That is not to dismiss the important issues of governance, but the reality for people is that access to necessary health and other complementary public services is diminishing and there is no evidence to show that the Government is taking steps to address the growing problems.

Internally, we worked consistently to agree measures to curtail our pay costs. Furthermore, we substantially progressed work on developing new memorandum and articles, we commenced the 2013/14 operational plan and we further developed our outcomes focused reporting. This all took place in the absence of some staff members critical to these areas. 2013 was also notable for the changes within the HSE where there is now one central point of executive engagement through the Social Care Division. This presented both an opportunity and challenge to us as to how to most effectively engage.

At the same time, work was progressed and many of the highlights are mentioned by the Chairperson. We played a strong part in getting the National Disability Strategy Implementation Plan (NDSIP) published, undertook a comprehensive critique of the Programme for Government, introduced a number of interns and volunteers to support key areas of work, along with the "Living in the Community" research and the UL conference, “Developing Successful Strategic Operations and Alliances in the Voluntary Disability Sector”. In association with the Centre for Disability Law and Policy in the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG), we hosted a conference on the implementation of the UNCRPD at which Professor Theresia Degener, who is a member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which monitors implementation of the Convention, spoke. There was also an allied briefing session for the relevant public servants in the various departments.

The times we live in continue to bring uncertainty for people with disabilities, and so it is more important than ever that we are certain as to what we are about and, therefore, how we will approach and respond to this ever challenging environment. Each of us has a responsibility to our own organisation and those we are pledged to serve, and also to the wider disability movement. We are clear that we are to stand by people and their families and to do everything we can to vindicate their basic human dignity to be participative members of the community.

It was a very testing year for DFI. We had to address our growing deficit, we were short on some key staff and there were a number of serious external events to be responded to, as well as making a start on the new operational plan. We were well served by having both the Strategic and Operational Plans, along with the growing expertise across the staff, to use and plan effectively along with the sheer good will and commitment across staff, Board and others to get on with the work. This support I greatly appreciate.

Finally, I need to mention our outgoing Chairperson, Maurice O Connell, who is completing his service as Chairperson and who is also standing down from the Board. He has provided ongoing leadership support to DFI in his role as Chair but also to me as CEO. This support and guidance I will miss and I thank him for it and wish him well with his other voluntary engagements and in his personal life.

John Dolan

Chief Executive Officer

The Year in Review

Policy Highlights for 2013

2013 was a difficult period with the sudden abolishment of the Mobility Allowance and the Motorised Transport Grant coming on top of the August 2012 cut to the PA and Home Support schemes. DFI lobbied strongly on this issue and we continue to call for the Mobility Allowance to be re-opened to new applicants.

The core of the work of DFI continues to be focused on securing the full inclusion of people with disabilities within society. That said, we have been constantly working to protect and develop what can only be described as the “taken for granted” range of mutually supportive community services and supports that are at the heart of what our member organisations strive to do. Key to this was the publication of the report, “Living in the Community: Services and Supports for People with Disabilities”, that was launched in April 2013. It was a collaborative piece of work done in conjunction with the NfPBA

In addition, DFI conducted an important piece of qualitative research examining PA services in Ireland for people with physical and sensory disabilities. The work demonstrates our renewed focus and significant investment on issues that matter to people with disabilities in the community. The research aims to promote a better understanding about Ireland”s PA service and involved 30 one-to-one interviews with people using a PA service, as well as interviews with a range of stakeholders [1] .

The Budget continues to be a long-term yearly campaign to promote adequate income and public services for people with disabilities in Irish society. DFI carried out a number of activities in preparation for and in response to Budget 2014. These included a post-Budget newsletter with DFI”s commentary on the impact of the changes announced, and specific analysis of the potential impact of the changes introduced to Medical Cards. Following the Budget, DFI has maintained a media presence regarding the impact of austerity on people with disabilities. This included a number of interviews and press releases.

The NDSIP was published on 23rd July 2013 after significant pressure and lobbying from DFI. DFI responded with a press release and commentary on the positive aspects of the Implementation Plan, many of which reflected the DFI perspective, as well as some of the gaps.

The National Disability Strategy (NDS) monitoring mechanisms also became operational during 2013, with DFI participating in two thematic meetings, one on Housing and the other on Irish Sign Language. In addition, DFI continued its representation and participation in health-related structures, across national, regional and local levels, ensuring that the interests of people with disabilities are central to the discussions and planning.

DFI has focused strongly on the European dimension of our work as never before, and we have developed a work plan in this area. In particular, DFI worked closely with the European Disability Forum (EDF), the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disability (EASPD) and the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN), and strived to influence their approach. On 23-24 February, the EDF hosted their Board meeting and conference in Ireland in partnership with DFI, where they called on the Irish Government to ratify the UNCRPD.

DFI Representation on Policy Committees 2013

DFI continued to represent the disability sector at local, regional and national level in order to push for a vision of an Ireland where people with disabilities are fully included and equal citizens in society. In 2013, DFI was represented on 164 committees and working groups across the areas of health, social protection, education, transport, housing, advocacy, human rights, governance, community development and local government to name a few.

As demonstrated in Table 1 below, DFI made 22 submissions across various departments and agencies at national and international level. These can also be sourced on the DFI website, www.disability-federation.ie .

Table 1 DFI Submissions 2013



Department or Agency


DFI contribution to EAPN EU 2020 Group Submission

European Central Bank (ECB), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Commission Troika


National Healthcare Charter – Paediatric Services

Health Service Executive (HSE) National


DFI contribution to EAPNEU 2020 Submission on European Country Specific Recommendations 2013

European Commission


DFI contribution to EASPD Submission on European Country Specific Recommendations 2013

European Commission


Consultation on the Implementation of the Charities Act

Department of Justice and Equality


DFI submission to EDF on High Level Group Report on Implementation of UNCRPD



DFI Submission on the Structural Fund Partnership Agreement for Ireland

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform


DFI Contribution to EAPN Structural Fund Partnership Agreement for Ireland

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform


DFI Contribution to EAPN Submission on Irelands National Reform Programme

European Commission


Submission on Libraries and Older People

Local Government Management Agency


Submission to Alternative Report on the UNCRPD



ComReg: Consultation on Access to telecommunications for People with Disabilities

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR)


Submission on Comprehensive Employment Strategy

National Disability Authority (NDA)


Submission on Broadcasting Service Charge



Submission on Free Travel Scheme Review

Department of Social Protection (DSP)


Submission on the WHO”s Disability Action Plan

World Health Organisation (WHO)


Questionnaire on Self-Directed Support

EASPD Policy Impact Group


Submission to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) Strategic Plan



Paper on Citizenship Engagement

Department of Environment, Community and Local Government (DECLG)


Community and Voluntary (C&V) Pillar on Water Affordability



Comments on the Social Mobility Card



Submission on the Youth Guarantee


Support for Our Member Organisations

The DFI Developmental and Support Services (DAS) incorporate products and services to support capacity building and good governance for member organisations. The DFI Organisation Healthcheck is the foundation of the DAS. In total, seven member organisations had completed the DFI Organisation Healthcheck in 2013 and a further eight had started it. In addition, DFI actively supports members in the implementation of Practical Quality Assurance System for Small Organisations (PQASSO) and 23 members were engaged in this process during 2013.

DFI has continued to strengthen our relationship with Charities Evaluation Services (CES), the developers of PQASSO. In 2013, we facilitated six separate training courses for DFI members in “Implementing PQASSO”, “Outcomes Planning” and “How to Collect Analyse Present and Use Data”. These were delivered by CES trainers, and 53 different organisations engaged in these courses, including 30 DFI member organisations and 23 non-member organisations. To support organisations implementing PQASSO, we have instigated a PQASSO Champions Network. A total of 27 people are involved. There were three network meetings held in 2013, with two in Dublin and one in Galway.

DFI continues to work in partnership with the University of Limerick (UL). DFI and UL have developed a new course on “Innovation and change Management” which will commence in early 2014. In addition, the “Introduction to Quality Management for Community and Voluntary Organisations” certificate course was delivered in Spring of 2013, and previous attendees are now participating in the Quality Management” specialist diploma. A symposium highlighting the work between DFI and UL was held on 29th November, with over 60 people in attendance. This also provided an opportunity for three students from the Masters in Quality Management, UL to present findings from their research on the DFI quality agenda and supports to organisations.

DFI continued to support member organisations to assess how they are listening to people with disabilities. Six members participated in Listening and Changing projects in 2013, where they were facilitated to conduct a piece of person-centred consultation. The DFI seminar, “Taking Time to Listen”, took place in May 2013, and its focus was on person-centred consultation. The members who were involved in Listening and Changing talked about their experience, and Dee Fraser from the Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland gave a key note address.

We have been actively involved in the development of the Quality Ireland Initiative instigated by the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) and addressed their conference in October 2013. In addition, DFI continues to progress work on the Code of Practice for Good Governance of Community, Voluntary and Charitable Organisations in Ireland.

The number of DFI members who have signed up to the Fundraising Principles and the Governance Code is increasing steadily. Over 24% of organisations signed up to the Fundraising Principles are DFI members. This is encouraging; however, due to the public scrutiny over fundraising, DFI is encouraging all our members to review their fundraising procedures and ensure that they are in line with the principles.

Strengthening the Voice, Impact and Relevance of the Disability Movement in Ireland

During this period, bringing social justice issues to the forefront of the public arena has proved challenging. Although the recession, fiscal deficit, Euro crisis and banking saga took over the policy agenda, we managed to interject disability into the debate at critical junctures. We also facilitated and supported a fundamental shift in the national conversation away from services per se to a focus on enabling and being of service to people.

Engaging with Government and the Oireachtas

DFI met with four Members of European Parliament (MEPs) throughout 2013 and attended the Árd Fheis and Conferences of Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and Labour Party. We also made representations to Oireachtas Committees on health issues, the Mobility Allowance and the Motorised Transport Scheme. The DFI Pre-Budget Submission was presented to the Joint Oireachtas Health Committee and the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and this was followed up by analysis of budgetary measures and their effect on people with disabilities living in the community.

Memorandums of Understandings (MoUs) and Relationship-Building in Disability and the C&V Sector

DFI continues to take a lead in collaboration with other umbrella groups. DFI and the NfPBA have a joint Working Group on Key Performance Indicators. In 2013, DFI held a joint conference with the NUIG Centre for Disability Law and Policy on the ratification of the UNCRPD, and we also collaborated with the Disability Equality Specialist Support Agency (DESSA), NfPBA, Neurological Alliance of Ireland (NAI), Care Alliance Ireland and the Advocacy Initiative.

In 2013, DFI led the work to agree a joint statement from seven disability umbrella organisations in relation to Budget 2014. The others involved were NAI, Mental Health Reform, NfPBA, Care Alliance Ireland, Center for Independent Living (CIL) Carmichael and the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies. Similarly, we participated in The Wheel-initiated work to have a joint statement from leading community and voluntary umbrella organisations on the Budget.

DFI continued to be an active member of the C&V Pillar which developed and articulated a socially responsible approach to the crises and also organised bilateral meetings with key Departments.

Adding to the deepening of our European work, through effective use of both EAPSD and EDF, we have now agreed to an ongoing structured relationship with Dóchas, the international development sector umbrella, in order to improve our engagement and learning related to the situation of disabled people in the wider world. In addition, DFI joined European Movement Ireland (EMI) and established an EU network to engage member organisations that operate at EU and international level.

DFI: The Organisation

A significant amount of time continues to be invested in securing DFI”s own sustainability. The DFI Cost Containment Programme was implemented, and, following agreement with staff, all staff salaries were reduced by 6%, the employer pension contribution reduced by 3% and increments frozen from January 2014.

Our ability to share information externally and internally continues, and has been strengthened by the focused communication work and the support of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) systems. The Customer Relations Management (CRM) system is greatly assisting us in evidencing multiple outcomes from the Operational Plan. New tools like Twitter are increasing the penetration of DFI”s message. Significant work was conducted throughout the year to draft our new Memorandum and Articles of Association. PQASSO is progressing steadily with three Quality Areas completed and the fourth and fifth quality areas started. The following areas were also progressed:

  • The Operational Plan 2013 – 14 was agreed by the Board and presented to the National Council [2] .
  • DFI continues to implement PQASSO Level 1. We have completed Quality Area (QA) 9 Communications and Promotions (100%), QA 1 Planning (100%), and QA 4 User-Centred Services (95%), and we are 80% through QA 11 Monitoring & Evaluation. The next QA we will work on is QA 8 Managing Resources.
  • As part of the Office 365 platform, the Lync video conferencing system is now in place. We have also begun reviewing smart tablets to see if they would be useful to DFI in our daily activities. New smartphones were also rolled out to staff in November 2013.
  • Two information management projects were completed during 2013, and included an events module to record the DFI events more efficiently and the CRM upgrade. The Reporting Project and the Website Project are still ongoing.
  • Work was done on the development of a new ICT Handbook. This will be an invaluable tool for the ICT staff and also as a Risk Management / Disaster recovery plan for DFI.
  • Significant investment of time in Human Resources (HR) was made in 2013, due to the DFI Cost Containment Programme.

DFI Board 2013

Maurice O”Connell - Chairperson Alzheimer Society of Ireland

John O”Sullivan - Vice Chairperson Enable Ireland (re-elected June 2013)

Don Bailey - Treasurer Vantastic Ltd.

Pat Clarke Down Syndrome Ireland (Co-opted September 2012; elected June 2013)

Anne Coffey KARE

Mike Glynn Brainwave

Elaine Howley National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI)

George Kennedy Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland (SBHI) [until June 2013)

Niall Keane Deafhear.ie

Barbara O”Connell Acquired Brain Injury Ireland

Cliodhna O”Neill Rehab Group

Joe T Mooney Muscular Dystrophy Ireland

National Council Member Organisations 2013

Acquired Brain Injury Ireland

Alzheimer Society of Ireland

Arthritis Ireland

ASPIRE – Asperger Syndrome Association

Ataxia Ireland


BRÍ – Acquired Brain Injury Association

CASA – Caring and Sharing Association

Central Remedial Clinic

Centre for Independent Living Mayo

Centre for Independent Living Tipperary

Center for Independent Living Carmichael House

Cheeverstown House Ltd

COPE Foundation

County Roscommon Support Group for People with Disabilities

Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland


D.E.B.R.A. Ireland

Disabled Drivers Association

Disabled People of Clare

Doorway to Life Ltd

Down Syndrome Ireland

Dyslexia Association of Ireland

Enable Ireland

Epilepsy Ireland (formerly Brainwave)

Fighting Blindness

Genetic and Rare Disorders Organisation

HAIL Housing Association for Integrated Living

Headway Ireland

Huntington”s Disease Association of Ireland

Irish Deaf Society

Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind

Irish Haeomophilia Society

Irish Kidney Association

Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association

Irish Society for Autism

Irish Wheelchair Association

Jack and Jill Children”s Foundation


Leitrim Association of People with Disabilities

Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland

Muscular Dystrophy Ireland

National Council for the Blind of Ireland

National Federation of Arch Clubs

Neurofibromatosis Association of Ireland

North West MS Therapy Centre

Parkinson”s Association of Ireland

Post Polio Support Group

Raynaud”s and Scleroderma Ireland

Reach Ireland

Rehab Group

Royal Hospital Donnybrook

Sophia Housing Association Ltd

Special Olympics Ireland

Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland

Spinal Injuries Ireland

St Catherine”s Association

St Gabriel”s School and Centre

St Michael”s House

Vantastic Ltd

WALK (formerly Walkinstown Association)

Western Care Association

General Members

Ability West

ACTS (Accessible Community Transport Southside)


Áiseanna Tacaíochta

Anne Sullivan Centre

Arklow Disability Action Group

Autism Spectrum Disorder Initiatives (ASDI)

Bluestack Special Needs Foundation

Camphill Communities of Ireland

Catholic Institute for Deaf People (CIDP)

Care Alliance Ireland


Carmichael Centre for Voluntary Groups

Centre for Independent Living Blanchardstown

Centre for Independent Living Carlow

Centre for Independent Living Cork

Centre for Independent Living Donegal

Centre for Independent Living Galway

Centre for Independent Gorey

Centre for Independent Living Kilkenny

Centre for Independent Living Longford

Centre for Independent Living Offaly

Centre for Independent Living Sligo

Centre for Independent Living Waterford

Centre for Independent Living West Limerick

Centre for Independent Living Wexford

Cheshire Ireland

Childvision (formerly St Joseph”s Centre for the Visually Impaired)

Co-Action West Cork

Cork Accessible Transport

Cork Deaf Association

Crosscare Cedar Programme

Diabetes Federation of Ireland Southern Region

Dyspraxia Association of Ireland


Fibromyalgia Support Group (Midlands)

FICTA - Federation of Irish Complementary Therapy Associations


Heart Children Ireland

ICARE (Inishowen Children”s Autism Related Education)

Irish Electromagnetic Radiation Victims Network

Irish Hard of Hearing Association

Lakers Social and Recreation Club

Lucan Disability Action Group

Mid West Spina Bifida & Hydrocephalus Association

Migraine Association of Ireland


Neurological Alliance of Ireland

North West Stroke Group

Out and About Association

Peacehaven Trust

Prader Willi Syndrome Association Ireland. (PWSAI)

Rathmines Pembroke Community Partnership

Sharing the Journey

S.T.E.E.R – Support Training Education Employment Research

St Hilda”s Services

St Mary”s Centre (Telford)

The Carers Association

Yoobyoo (formerly Children in Hospital Ireland)

DFI Associates

Livability Ireland (formerly John Groom)

Voluntary Services International (VSI)

Extra Care

New Organisations Admitted to Membership in 2013

Move4Parkinsons Foundation Limited

Áiseanna Tacíochta

Autism Spectrum Disorder Initiatives (ASDI)

Prader Willi Syndrome Association Ireland. (PWSAI)

Cork Deaf Association

Lakers Social and Recreation Club

Staff and Contact Details

National Office
Fumbally Court, Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8
Tel: 01 454 7978
Email: info@disability-federation.ie
Web: www.disability-federation.ie

Management Team

John Dolan Chief Executive Officer

Allen Dunne Senior Executive Officer - Operational / Deputy CEO

Joanne McCarthy Senior Executive Officer - Policy and Research

Support Team

Denis Cadogan Corporate Services & ICT Manager

Aaron Browne IT Administrator

Alison Ryan Corporate Services Support

Mairéad Holohan Support Staff

Cathy McGrath Support Staff

Eleanor Uí Fhiannachta Support Staff

John Doyle Support Staff

Mary Redmond Support Staff

Support Officers

Policy and Research

Lillian Buchanan (left April 2013)

Joan O”Connor



Dermot O”Donnell


Dublin North-East

Martin Naughton


Joan O”Donnell



Louise McCann


Anthony Carrick


Jacqueline Grogan



P.J. Cleere


Alison Ryan



Michael Corbett


Jennifer Van Aswegen

j ennifervanaswegen@disabilityfederation.ie

Toni Gleeson



Disability is a societal rather than a sectoral issue and DFI has progressed its work in 2013 by working with a large number of organisations across all aspects of Irish society, including Government departments and agencies, community and voluntary organisations, universities and local government. We are very grateful to all of these organisations, bodies and groups. Their co-operation and support has been greatly beneficial, and very much appreciated.

A large numbers of individuals from our member organisations represent DFI at a wide range of national and local structures. We wish to acknowledge these individuals, and to extend our sincere thanks for their work and effort on behalf of DFI and people with disabilities. Without their dedication, hard work and support, the work of DFI would be very much more difficult, and much less effective. To all of you, thank you for your commitment; we are very grateful.

DFI also wishes to acknowledge the support and cooperation of its member organisations

DFI is a member of the following organisations

  • Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH)
  • European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD)
  • Irish Charity Tax Research Group (ICTRG)
  • The Wheel
  • The Carmichael Centre for Voluntary Groups
  • European Disability Forum (EDF)
  • European Movement Ireland (EMI)
  • The Irish Social Policy Association
  • The Irish Disability Studies Association 2013
  • Institute for Managers of Community & Voluntary Organisations in Ireland (IMCV)
  • Irish Social Policy Network
  • Mental Health Reform

Appendix 1

The directors present their annual report and the audited financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2013.

About Disability Federation of Ireland

The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) represents the interests and the expectations of people with disabilities to be fully included in Irish society. It comprises of organisations that represent and support people with disabilities and disabling conditions.

There are over 120 organisations within membership, or as associates, of DFI. DFI also works with a growing number of organisations and groups around the country that have a significant disability interest, mainly from the statutory and voluntary sectors. DFI provides information, training and support, networking, advocacy and representation, research and policy development and implementation, and organisation and management development.

DFi works on the basis that disability is a societal issue and so works with Government, and across the social and economic strands and interests of society.

Vision and Mission

The vision of DFI is that Irish society is fully inclusive of people with disabilities and disabling conditions so that they can exercise their full civil, economic, social and human rights, and that they are enabled to reach their full potential in life. DFI's mission is to act as an advocate for the full and equal inclusion of people with disabilities and disabling conditions in all aspects of their lives.

Business Review

The Company's activities consist of promoting the affairs of organisations supporting people with disabilities. There have been no significant changes in these activities during the year.

The majority of the Company's funding is from the State, and in the current economic environment this is more vulnerable than it would previously have been. A small amount of income, which is variable, comes from other sources. This income is also vulnerable.

Risks and Uncertainties

The main risk and uncertainty facing the organisation at this time arises from the current economic environment. The organisation is dependent on grant funding received from the HSE. In a changing and uncertain environment, and having regard to ongoing company repositioning work, there is also the risk associated with not prioritising the right areas of work.


In accordance with the Articles of Association, Don Bailey, Anne Coffey, Mike Glynn, Maurice O'Connell and Seán Megahey (who was co‑opted January 2014) retire by rotation. These directors are eligible for re‑election and can choose to offer themselves for re‑election if they so wish.

Results and Dividends

The deficit for the year, after taxation, amounted to €232,048 (2012 ‑ deficit €48,941).

Corporate Governance
The Board manages the business of the Company within the context of the Strategic Plan, as agreed by the Members of the Company. The Board is provided with regular financial and operational information. It meets regularly, as required, and met in full on twelve occasions in 2013. The role of the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer are separate and the directors are independent of the management of the company.

Board Committees
The Board has three sub‑committees as follows:

1) Board of Finance and Audit Sub‑Committee
The purpose of the finance function of the committee is to monitor significant financial planning, management and reporting matters of DFI, and to make recommendations and deliver reports to the Board of DFI. The purpose of the audit function of the committee is to assist the organisation in discharging its legal and accounting responsibilities. It provides the communications link with the external auditor and evaluates the risk management process. The committee met five times during the year.

2) Premises Sub‑Committee
The purpose of this Committee is to consider options regarding improving DFI office accommodation and to report to the Board of DFI. The committee did not meet during the year.

3) Governance Compliance Sub‑Committee
The purpose of this committee is to ensure and monitor compliance with the Governance Manual, which was prepared for the Board. The committee met on one occasion during the year.

Legal Status

DFI is a company limited by guarantee, not having a share capital. It was incorporated in Ireland under the Companies Act 1963, company registration number 140948. The objectives of the company are charitable in nature, with established charitable status (Charity No. CHY 6177).

Budget Control

A detailed budget is prepared in line with the Strategic Plan; it is reviewed by the Finance and Audit Sub‑Committee and further reviewed and approved by the Board. Actual results and outcomes are compared against the budget to ensure alignment with the Plan, and to maintain tight budgetary control and value for money.

Organisational Structure

John Dolan, Chief Executive Officer, manages the operation of the charity with delegated responsibility to the executive staff.

Management and Staff

We acknowledge with appreciation the committed work of our staff and volunteers. Our success and achievements of our work is due to their dedication and tremendous contribution.

Health and Safety

It is the policy of the Company to ensure the health and welfare of its employees and clients by maintaining a safe place to work. This policy is based on the requirements of the following legislation:

  • The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005
  • The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act (General Applications) Regulations, 2007
  • The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act (Construction) Regulations, 2006
  • All Subsequent Regulations and Amendments

The Company has a proactive approach to assisting all personnel to conduct the organisation's business in a manner that protects the environment, our customers and employees. It is compliant with relevant environmental legislation.

Dividends and Retention

The Company is precluded by its Memorandum of Association from paying dividends, either as part of normal operations or on a distribution of its assets in the event of a winding‑up.

Political Contributions

The Company made no political donations during the year, as defined by the Electoral Act 1997.

Directors' Responsibilities

The directors are responsible for preparing the Directors' Report and the financial statements in accordance with applicable Irish law and Generally Accepted Accounting Practice (GAAP) in Ireland, including the accounting standards issued by the Financial Reporting Council.

Irish company law requires the directors to prepare financial statements giving a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the company and of the surplus or deficit of the company for that period. In preparing these financial statements, the directors are required to :

  • select suitable accounting policies and then apply them consistently
  • make judgments and accounting estimates that are reasonable and prudent;
  • state whether applicable accounting standards have been followed, subject to any material departures disclosed and explained in the financial statements; and
  • prepare the financial statements on the going concern basis, unless it is inappropriate to presume that the company will continue in business.

The directors confirm that they have complied with the above requirements in preparing the financial statements.

The directors are responsible for keeping proper books of account that disclose with reasonable accuracy at any time the financial position of the company, enable them to ensure that the financial statements are prepared in accordance with accounting standards generally accepted in Ireland and comply with the Companies Act 1963 to 2013. They are also responsible for safeguarding the assets of the company and hence for taking reasonable steps for the prevention and detection of fraud and other irregularities.

Development Reserve and Contingency Reserve

In line with best practice and to exercise financial prudence, the Board has provided for a Contingency Reserve and a Development Reserve. The Contingency Reserve is a provision for three months of regular / core operating costs to be available to deal with contingencies. The Development Reserve is a reserve for short term development funding and medium to long-term development funding. The short term reserve is funds that will be used on developmental projects and initiatives that will contribute to the development of the DFI over the next three years. 30% of the money available from the reserve funds will be used on these developmental projects and initiatives. The medium to long-term reserve is funds that are held for opportunities and for projects and initiatives which DFI anticipates will emerge in more than three years time. 30% of the money available from reserve funds is set aside for projects and initiatives to be funded from 2015 onwards.

Post Balance Sheet Events

There were no significant events since the year end.

Accounting Records

The measures taken by the directors to ensure compliance with the requirements of Section 202 of the Companies Act 1990, regarding proper books of account, are the implementation of necessary policies and procedures for recording transactions, the employment of competent accounting personnel with appropriate expertise and the provision of adequate resources to the financial function. The books of account of the company are maintained at Fumbally Court, Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8.


The auditors, LHM Casey McGrath, have indicated their willingness to continue in office in accordance with the provisions of Section 160(2) of the Companies Act, 1963.

his report was approved by the Board on _____________ and signed on its behalf.


Maurice O'Connell



Don Bailey


We have audited the financial statements of The Union of Voluntary Organisations of People with Disabilities T/A Disability Federation of Ireland for the year ended 31 December 2013, which comprise the Income and Expenditure account, the Balance Sheet, the Cashflow Statement and the related notes. The financial reporting framework that has been applied in their preparation is Irish Law and accounting standards issued by the Financial Reporting Council (GAAP in Ireland).

This report is made solely to the company's members as a body, in accordance with the requirements of Section 193 of the Companies Act 1990. Our audit work has been undertaken so that we might state to the company's members those matters that we are required to state to them in the audit report and for no other purpose. To the fullest extent permitted by law, we do not accept or assume responsibility to anyone other than the company or the company's members as a body for our audit work, for this report, or for the opinions we have formed.

Respective responsibilities of directors and auditors

As explained more fully in the Directors' Responsibilities Statement set out on page four, the directors are responsible for the preparation of the financial statements, giving a true and fair view. Our responsibility is to audit and express an opinion on the financial statements in accordance with Irish law and International Standards on Auditing (UK and Ireland). Those standards require us to comply with the Auditing Practices Boards ‑ Ethical Standards for Auditors.

Scope of the audit of the financial statements

An audit involves obtaining evidence about the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements sufficient to give reasonable assurance that the financial statements are free from material misstatement, whether caused by fraud or error. This includes an assessment of whether the accounting policies are appropriate to the company's circumstances and have been consistently applied and adequately disclosed; the reasonableness of significant accounting estimates made by the directors; and the overall presentation of the financial statements. In addition, we read all the financial and non‑financial information in the Directors Report and Financial Statements to identify material inconsistencies with the audited financial statements. If we become aware of any apparent material misstatements or inconsistencies we consider the implications for our report.

Opinion on Financial Statements

In our opinion the financial statements:

  • give a true and fair view, in accordance with GAAP in Ireland, of the state of the company's affairs as at 31 December 2013 and of its results and cash flows for the year then ended; and
  • have been properly prepared in accordance with the Companies Acts 1963 to 2013 and all regulations to be construed as one with those acts.
Matters on which we are required to report by the Companies Acts 1963 to 2013

We have obtained all the information and explanations we consider necessary for the purposes of our audit.

  • In our opinion, proper books of account have been kept by the company.
  • The financial statements are in agreement with the books of account.
  • In our opinion, the information given in the directors' report is consistent with the financial statements.
Matters on which we are required to report by exception

We have nothing to report in respect of the provisions in the Companies Acts 1963 to 2013 which require us to report to you if, in our opinion, the disclosures of the directors' remuneration and transactions specified by law are not made.

Damien Kealy

for and on behalf of

LHM Casey McGrath

Chartered Certified Accountants

Statutory Audit Firm

6 Northbrook Road

Dublin 6


Income and Expenditure Account

for the year ended 31 December 2013





Grant income




Administrative expenses




Other operating income




Operating deficit




Interest receivable and similar income




Interest payable and similar charges



Deficit on ordinary activities before taxation




Tax on deficit on ordinary activities




Deficit for the financial year





There were no recognised surpluses or deficits other than those disclosed above and there have been no discontinued activities or acquisitions in the current or preceding periods.

Signed on behalf of the board


Maurice O'Connell


Don Bailey




Balance Sheet

as at 31 December 2013





Fixed Assets


Tangible assets





Current Assets








Cash at bank and in hand










Creditors: amounts falling due within one year






Net Current Assets





Net Assets






Contingency reserve ‑ unrestricted





Development reserve ‑ restricted





Premises reserve ‑ restricted





Accumulated funds ‑ unrestricted









Signed on behalf of the board:


Maurice O'Connell


Don Bailey






The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) represents the interests and the expectations of people with disabilities to be fully included in Irish society. It comprises organisations that represent and support people with disabilities and disabling conditions.

The vision of DFI is that Irish society is fully inclusive of people with disabilities and disabling conditions so that they can exercise their full civil, economic, social, and human rights and are enabled to reach their full potential in life. DFI”s mission is to act as an advocate for the full and equal inclusion of people with disabilities and disabling conditions in all aspects of their lives.

There are over 120 organisations within membership, or as associates, of DFI. DFI also works with a growing number of organisations and groups around the country that have a significant disability interest, mainly from the statutory and voluntary sectors. DFI provides information, training and support, networking, advocacy and representation, research and policy development and implementation, and organisation and management development.

DFI works on the basis that disability is a societal issue and so works with Government, and across the social and economic strands and interests of society.

Disability Federation of Ireland, Fumbally Court, Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8

Tel: 01 454 7978
Fax: 01 454 7981
Email: info@disability-federation.ie
Web: www.disability-federation.ie
Union of Voluntary Organisations of People with Disabilities trading as The Disability Federation of Ireland is a company limited by guarantee not having share capital, registered in Dublin. Registered No. 140948, CHY No 6177

[1] The report “Access to Life: Personal Assistant Service in Ireland and Independent Living by People with Physical and Sensory Disabilities” was launched by Kathleen Lynch T.D., Minister for State for Disability, Older People, Equality & Mental Health in February 2014.

[2] Along with this Annual Review and the audited accounts to the Directors on 10th January 2013