March 2010 Newsletter
Issued on March 1 2010
On 8th October last, in the Mansion House, Dublin, at our Pre-Budget event with members of the Oireachtas, DFI, along with eight other organisations, launched our “NDS Recession Implementation Charter” calling on Government to hold onto its commitment to the National Disability Strategy during the recession. Central to that would be a plan to ensure that the NDS was protected and advanced during these difficult times.
Government responded in their “Renewed Programme for Government” by stating its commitment to
“prioritise the interests of people with disabilities and actively advance the implementation of the National Disability Strategy (NDS) throughout the recession having regard to the progress made to date and subject to available resources.” It went on to state that: “We will publish an “NDS Recession Implementation Plan”
central to which will be the availability of accessible public and social services to vindicate the rights of people with disabilities to full participation within the State”.
Almost six months later, there is no evidence of the NDS Recession Implementation Plan being produced. This Plan is needed urgently as decisions are being taken on a daily basis across Departments and public bodies that are impacting negatively on disabled people and their families not to mention the fact that development of much needed services has stopped. The Plan would also enhance value for money and efficiency in the delivery of services. The Plan needs to be in place prior to work being done across Departments and Government on next year”s budget, to be published later this year.
The commitment by Government came half way through its term of office. If the Plan is not produced urgently it is effectively being reneged upon. The work that has been done over recent times to progress the mental health area in relation to health services is to be commended.
Protecting the NDS is about ensuring that disabled people and their families can live life in a dignified and hopeful manner where their basic needs are addressed. This is not an optional extra that can be put off until times get better. Government considered it necessary to protect the banking sector even though we don”t have the money to do so. Are disabled people less important? We need Government to urgently get it”s act together and demonstrate the leadership that it promised last October.