Disability Federation of Ireland Newsletter July 2009
Issued on July 1 2009
Disability has been a Government priority for over a decade. It featured in equality legislation in the late 90”s and in the Governments” commitment to the policy of mainstreaming of supports and services to its disabled citizens in 2000. These developments were given the greatest clarity under the publication of the National Disability Strategy (NDS) and its reflection in the long term goals and priorities set out in Towards 2016 and the current programme for Government.
Despite Government”s decision to prioritise disability it can be argued that when disability funding is being cut in the same manner as other services it is no longer being seen as a priority. Where something is a priority it is necessary that all concerned stay with the issue and work to find solutions which honour that priority
A significant amount of investment has taken place in terms of service delivery but also in the policy, monitoring systems and programme development areas. If this infrastructure is not protected and developed it will be lost. The State will have wasted resources, weakened our national ability to successfully deliver this commitment, and, worst of all dealt, a savage blow to the reasonable expectations of disabled people, carers, family members and the general public, that this State can ever provide for it”s disabled members.
People with disabilities bought the commitment of Government to, once and for all, give them the dignity and status of people who can participate equally in this society. This is a reputational issue for Government at home and abroad. It is critical that Government clearly demonstrates through its decisions and clearly articulates to its disabled citizens that even during a recession it will do all it can to deliver on its own vision “of an Ireland where people with disabilities have, to the greatest extent possible, the opportunity to live a full life with their families and as part of their local community, free from discrimination”. As the report of An Bord Snip Nua (Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programme) chaired by Mr Colm Mc Carthy is set to propose over €5bn in savings for the State DFI calls on Government to urgently restate it”s strong commitment to protecting the commitments that it has made to disabled people and to set out clearly how decision makers across departments and State agencies will exercise that priority throughout this recession so that we protect the National Disability Strategy and give people confidence that it is being delivered.