Disability Federation of Ireland Newsletter April 2009
Issued on April 1 2009
The second budget of 2009 brings new anxiety for voluntary disability organisations, disabled people and their families. DFI has urged the Government to remember their commitment to disabled people and to refrain from any further erosion of disability services.
The National Disability Strategy was introduced in 2005 as a positive initiative to meet the needs of disabled people in Ireland. It was also introduced in recognition of the service deficits that exist many of which occurred during the health cuts of the 1980s. The disability sector wants to ensure that disabled people do not become victims of another recession. While the Government has announced that they do not want direct services to be affected by cuts, it is difficult to see how this can happen. Since the latter part of 2008, voluntary disability organisations have been hit by range of cuts. While organisations have tried to absorb these cuts into administrative and overhead costs, services have been affected.
Further measures to reduce the budgets of voluntary disability organisations will affect basic health services that have already been eroded due to core deficits and the decline in fundraised income. DFI have argued that the disability sector has already had its share of cuts. Last year it emerged that €53 million allocated to disability and mental health service in Budget 2007 was redirected to meeting overspending in other areas of the health services. In 2008, the Government committed €50 million in multi-annual funding to high priority disability services, however €17 million was later withdrawn and we have yet to hear how and if the remaining €33 million was spent. In 2009, we were expecting a further €50 million which was the last instalment of a multi-annual package. These cuts, in addition to the 3% funding cuts to voluntary disability organisations to date in 2009, will have major repercussions for service provision to disabled people in Ireland and will undermine the National Disability Strategy.
DFI will be conducting an analysis of the mini-budget and will keep members up-to-date on the outcome of this through general correspondence and the newsletter.