Newsletter August 2010

Issued on August 1 2010

Budget 2010 hit the disability sector hard on all fronts

We saw the disability sector take action on the 7th of July to protest against further funding cutbacks to services to people with disabilities by the HSE. Right now we must continue our efforts to make the Government and the wider public aware of the damage that is being done and which threatens the quality of life of people with disabilities, their families and communities.

Budget 2010 hit the disability sector hard on all fronts, cutting both, disability specific services, funding, and mainstream programmes used by people with disabilities. Given the €3 billion reduction in the budget deficit required in 2011, unless decision-makers disability proof decisions, the future looks much harsher for people with disabilities.

Voluntary disability organisations need to energetically warn their local elected representatives about the true situation, and persuade them of the need for disability-proofing all budgetary measures and planning for the implementation of the National Disability Strategy in this current difficult environment.
DFI will continue to work hard to protect what has been gained through the National Disability Strategy, and to ensure the basis is there for real progress as soon as conditions improve. Our interventions will be greatly strengthened if individual organisations engage wherever they have the opportunity. But to maximise our effectiveness, DFI needs evidence from members about their experience during this year. A questionnaire will be sent out shortly and I urge every member to participate.

We are being told that the recession is over. That is the same as being told the flooding has stopped. Serious damage has been done and continues to be done, with further cuts not only in next year”s budget but also beyond that. The Government has not even put its plan in place to protect the NDS.

The outlook for people with disabilities is not good at present. Coming into the Autumn we need to collectively get the stark facts across to our politicians and the public in the run up to the Budget.

John Dolan
Chief Executive Officer

DFI Pre Budget Planning 2010

Updating DFI Survey of Member Organisations and the Recession

DFI”s 2009 survey of its members demonstrated that the recession was impinging on them and on members capacity to support people with disabilities. It showed, for instance, that the downturn had already significantly affected 77% of the organisations who completed the questionnaire. While 90% reported that they had reduced their overhead costs, few were able to protect the quantity and quality of services entirely. Sixty six percent had to freeze development of existing services, and this occurred in the face of 75% respondents finding that demand for their services was rising.

Since the 2009 survey, even steeper public funding cutbacks have been implemented, and the environment for fundraising has remained difficult. With the prospect of more cuts in 2011, DFI wants to update its information on the experience of voluntary disability organisations, and short number of update questions will be sent to members shortly. Organisations are asked to complete the new questionnaire and return it as quickly as possible. DFI will use the (anonymised) information in lobbying against damaging cuts in the estimates process and Budget 2011.

DFI 2011 Pre-Budget Campaign News

DFI will soon be publishing its Pre Budget Submission 2011. The priorities are:

  • Protecting income for people with disabilities;
  • Protecting services needed by people with disabilities, by maintaining funding for disability specific services and disability-proofing any reductions contemplated for mainstream services.

Since the Government faces very difficult choices in cutting its budget deficit, the disability sector needs to present a compelling message, backed by evidence, to influence spending decisions. DFI”s Submission will make an overarching case for sustaining the National Disability Strategy through the recession. We encourage individual voluntary disability organisations in their campaigning to apply DFI”s general points to specific issues of concern in their local areas. DFI Support Officers are available to advise organisations, for example, about lobbying locally elected representatives.

The 2009 DFI Survey of the funding experience of member organisation, discussed above, will be circulated along with the Submission. The survey findings can help organisations to focus public attention on the potential for damage to the well being of people with disabilities if cutbacks continue to erode basic services and supports.

To strengthen and update evidence on the adverse impact of budget cuts to date, DFI is conducting a short update survey to learn about the experience of organisations in 2010. We urge members to participate.

Organisational Development

Carmichael Centre for Voluntary Groups

Carmichael Centre - The Autumn 2010 Training and Development Programme incorporates new courses that may be of interest to your organisations:

  • Induction of New Board Members: Get a clear insight into how a Board functions, with practical advice on developing a Board induction pack, its contents and delivery.
  • Effective Meetings and Minutes: Successful meetings and relevant and concise minutes are a priority for successful organisations to ensure sustained results. This full day course will show you how to maximise their effectiveness.
  • Improving Performance and Outcomes : In these challenging times, it is even more important than ever to achieve and demonstrate results. This one day course will give you tools to improve your organisation”s performance and demonstrate outcomes to all your stakeholders.
  • Implementing Guiding Principles for Fundraising: With Sheila Nordon, CEO of the Irish Charities Tax Reform Group. This group has been involved in developing Codes of Good Practice for Fundraising by charities. This half day will review the set of resources launched in March 2010.
  • Employment Law: Managing Redundancies and Change: The area of redundancy has seen significant growth in recent years, which brings about the need for increased awareness of the issues that need to be explored prior to making redundancies.

Further information from the Carmichael Centre, Tel: 01 873 5285 or email: All courses are also available in a customised format.

Work Life Balance Consultancy Scheme

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation provides a Work Life Balance Consultancy Scheme to assist in the development of a planned and systematic approach to work-life balance at enterprise level. Under this scheme, an experienced consultant can be made available to work with small to medium sized enterprises in developing and implementing work-life balance policies and arrangements.

The scheme can fund up to 5 days consultancy from a panel of consultants selected by the committee. The support provided covers:

  • Advice on developing a work-life balance policy or enhancing existing policies;
  • Advice on implementing work-life balance arrangements on a partnership basis;
  • and / or training for management and employees in designing and operating such arrangements

The scheme is managed by the Equality Authority on behalf of the Committee.

Information on Work Life Balance is available from the Work Life Balance website

Application forms and more information on this particular scheme are available here:


HSE Cuts to Disability Services

The Government”s response to the protests about HSE”s cutbacks in the services for people with intellectual disabilities in the Galway area reveal policy priorities of serious concern to the disability sector. The methods being used to apply the budget reductions, especially in disability services, reveal the Government”s neglect of its own National Disability Strategy, thereby putting at risk the investments it has made to support people with disabilities.

Disability services funding is vulnerable

Despite the fact that the HSE actions triggering the protest stemmed from spending over-runs outside disability services, and the fact that disability service providers has already absorbed successive, cumulative funding cuts, Government spokespersons insisted that front line services need not be affected. For example, on the 7th of July the Taoiseach stated in the Dáil that “ there are other savings to be found in terms of management, layers of management, HR systems and purchasing and procurement. ” He added, “ there will have to be changes made in non-front-line services.

During this Dáil Debate the Government focussed on the amount of funding, especially the amount going to the large organisations providing disability services. However there is no reason to expect that other providers will be treated any differently in a fiscal environment predicted to be difficult for many years. The Taoiseach pointed out that €900 million of the disability services programme goes to Intellectual Disability while €300 million (one quarter) is allocated to Physical and Sensory Services.

While the Value for Money and Policy Review of the disability services programme was mentioned in the Dáil debates, the Government was uninhibited in making judgements about the effectiveness and efficiency of service provision before the Review had done its work. Indeed, Professor Drumm”s introductory remarks to the Joint Committee on Health and Children on the 13th of July were quite explicit in this regard.

As Drumm noted “ Shortly we will be convening a working group that will, in light of tightening budgets, examine how these types of services [provided by voluntary organizations] are delivered and how the many service providers might be able to introduce more streamlined processes to ensure that they can maintain and indeed increase frontline services. This group will look at opportunities for

  • Merging organisations
  • Removing duplication of back office functions such as payroll, human resources and finance across the various organisations
  • Reducing management structures and
  • Amalgamating and rationalising indirect services such as transport, estates management and maintenance.

Disability sector”s response

Many in the sector have responded to the HSE”s conduct and Government statements, as part of preparation for Budget 2011. For DFI this has included the following:

  • DFI, together with the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies and the Not for Profit Business Association, met with Minister Moloney on July 8th, at the invitation of the Minister. Also present were Bairbre Nic Aongusa, Director of The Office of the Minister for Disability and Mental Health, and Ann Kennelly, Interim Care Group Lead Disability HSE. It was accepted by those present that some organisations had extra cuts visited upon them beyond those set out at the start of the year and that there will be specific engagement between the HSE and each of the organisations. A further meeting with the Minister and the three Umbrella organisations is scheduled for September.
  • DFI, together with the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies and the Not for Profit Business Association, met with Laverne McGuinness, HSE National Director- Integrated Services Directorate, Performance and Financial Management, Liam Woods, HSE National Director of Finance and Ann Kennelly, HSE Interim National Care Group Lead, Disability Services in June. At this meeting we addressed national issues relating to policy, funding and the HSE Service Plan. Following this meeting it has been agreed that a National Disability Forum for Operational Issues is to be established that will ensure that the three disability umbrella organisations meet quarterly with Anne Kennelly and the four HSE Regional Directors of Operations (RDO). This forum will address issues relating to funding, service planning, Service Level Agreements and Strategic Initiatives. This will be an important opportunity for DFI to engage with the key budget holders in the regions, the RDOs, in the run up to, and following the publication of Budget 2011.
  • In addition to its participation in the DSG”s response DFI, in its pre Budget campaigning, its contributions through the Community & Voluntary Pillar and engagement with the HSE is working hard to highlight the hazards of failing to plan to sustain the integrity of the National Disability Strategy during the recession. DFI is vigorously questioning the presumption that there are too many voluntary organisations and that significant additional cost savings can be gleaned in back office rationalisation.

The full text of Professor Drumm”s presentation is available at

Health Funding Report

The Report on Resource Allocation and Financing in the Health Sector, commissioned by Minister Mary Harney, TD, was drafted by an Expert Group chaired by Frances Ruane, Director of the ESRI. It is likely to influence health policy development and governance decisions across the health system. Many of the principles enunciated in the report and findings about the current system will strike a cord with people in the disability sector.

  • It concludes that “ Ireland needs a system of integrated planning for all aspects of health care ”, and notes that planning does not have adequate population health information to support equitable and efficient care delivery. The system of resource allocation, in the Group”s view, lacks coherence. “ Specifically, there is no framework which allows decisions to be taken in an integrated way that … aligns resources with goals.
  • It finds that the current financing system lacks transparency and gives rise to serious inequities in access to care.
  • Its proposed changes to the medical card schemes would bring the treatment of people with disabilities into mainstream planning.
  • It suggests that direct subsidies to help meet policy objectives would be a better use of public resources than the current tax relief on medical expenses and private insurance.
  • The Group recognises that the development of new governance structures in the primary, continuing and community care sectors will be a challenge.

To read the report, please visit

Irish Society for Disability and Oral Health

The Irish Society for Disability & Oral Health (ISDH) is a voluntary group established in 2002. The group is made up of professionals who aim to promote, preserve and protect the oral health of people with disabilities.

Of current concern to the Society is the perceived inability of patients with disabilities to access dental care through the Medical Card Scheme. As an organisation we would like to advocate on behalf of patients with disabilities and would therefore like to know if people are able to access care satisfactorily, or indeed, if they have experienced problems since the recent changes to the Medical Card Scheme for dental patients.

We would welcome any information relevant to this although the ISDH is not in a position to respond to individual enquiries from patients. Any information can be sent via e mail to Dr K F Finn, Senior Dentist Special Care, Co Roscommon at

Further information about the Society can be accessed through the website available at

National Disability Strategy/ Towards 2016

The Disability Stakeholders Group

Meeting with the Taoiseach

The Disability Stakeholders Group (DSG), consisting of six disability umbrella bodies, including DFI, has written to the Taoiseach urgently seeking a meeting to discuss Government policy, following the protest march of 7 July and the Dáil debates about disability services. The DSG noted in the letter that, given the cuts already imposed and the further €3bn savings required in 2011, it is essential that the Government considers the impact of these cuts on the quality of life of people with disabilities, otherwise the coming years may prove very difficult indeed for people with disabilities and their families. The National Disability Strategy (NDS) Recession Implementation Plan was proposed as the essential means for sustaining the Government”s priority to people with disabilities.

Forthcoming Reports on NDS Progress

Each DSG subgroup is identifying the key issues that each Government departments is expected to address in reporting on progress achieved in delivering on its Sectoral Plan and other commitments to people with disabilities. The issues selected are seen as critical to moving towards the long term goals for people with disabilities, set down in Towards 2016 . For example in relation to education, the focus is on planning for the full implementation of the EPSEN Act, compulsory training for all education staff and effective monitoring of the effectiveness of mainstreaming for children with disabilities.

By alerting the Government of the sector”s priorities well in advance of the next report to the National Disability Strategy Stakeholder Monitoring Group (NDSSMG), due early in the autumn, the DSG aims to enhance the quality of monitoring in place for the NDS.

Community & Voluntary Pillar Meets Department of the Taoiseach

The purpose of the meeting was to review the issue of progressing towards the long term goals committed to in Towards 2016, and Budget 2011 issues.
The C&V Pillar, in the meeting with Dermot McCarthy, Secretary General of the Department, outlined a five point integrated recovery strategy that would be much more protective of vulnerable groups than the approach for managing the recession adopted to date. The Pillar”s strategy recognises the need to increase tax revenue and to secure better value for money in the delivery of public services, but it also involved expenditure cuts tailored to fit public priorities, especially for social inclusion.

DFI, speaking for the disability sector, reminded the departmental officials that disability services have been subjected to large funding cuts despite the acknowledged deficit in services for people with disabilities. In addition, the Government has failed to appreciate the full impact of its actions on this disadvantaged group, because it has also implemented reductions in mainstream services on which people with disabilities also rely. DFI asked that the Government develops the NDS Recession Implementation Plan, promised in the Renewed Programme for Government, to ensure that people with disabilities can look forward to a better future.

Mr McCarthy stated that the government valued engagement with the Pillar and the perspective that it brought to critical issues. In the context of the next budget, he emphasised a shift in Government thinking and a much stronger focus on the value received from public funding, and evidence of positive outcomes. He went on to state that no final decisions had yet been taken about how to achieve the required reduction in the deficit for Budget 2011.

Government”s Investment Priorities 2010 to 2016

In announcing its scaled back National Development Plan investments, the Government has revealed shifting priorities, of interest to people with disabilities and the voluntary organisations working with them. Disappointment extends beyond the cuts to investment in key areas to the scant evidence in the documentation of integrated investment planning, for example between the housing and health authorities.

  • Social housing investment will focus on regeneration schemes such as those in Limerick and Ballymun, with leasing to play the main role for others in housing need. No details are provided on planned spending under the Voluntary & Co-Operative Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS), the main source of new housing for people with disabilities, the elderly and homeless persons, although the document refers to new build or acquisition continuing to meet special needs. In 2009 CAS was allocated €110 million.
  • Planned funding for housing adaptation grants for people with disabilities and the elderly is not identified. Private housing grants amounted to a total of €65 million in 2009.
  • In terms of job creation, the focus appears to be on transport, research and environment related work rather than community activities. However there is mention of some €370 million for sports programmes to support higher participation, community engagement and associated health benefits. This is an area where voluntary organisations can work to ensure the inclusion of people with disabilities in local initiatives.
  • Similarly under educational investment, €250 million is to be invested in ICT in schools over the period. People with disabilities and their organisations will want to highlight the need for assistive technology along with the high profile focus on access to broadband.
  • Investment of almost €2.9 billion in health infrastructure is to focus on supporting the health transformation agenda and acute hospital facilities. Mental health care and disability care are named as areas for attention. The document states, “ In terms of priorities for policy, it is critical that moves to develop and enhance home and community supports (in order to free capacity in acute facilitates) remain at the top of the agenda ” (p.66). It also flags leasing, for example, primary care facilities, as a way forward.
  • Investment by the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs will decline over the period. The main focus for spending appears to be on rural rather than wider community-based schemes.

For further information, please visit and

Social Inclusion

DFI to take seat on Irish Sports Council Steering Committee for SIDO Programme

DFI is to take a seat at the Irish Sports Council Sports Inclusion Disability Officer (SIDO) Programme Steering Group. The role of the Steering Group is to:

  • Oversee the Implementation of the SIDO programme throughout the Local Sports Partnership Network
  • Coordinate the communication and interaction between the broad range of agencies and organisations involved with disability sport in Ireland
  • Review the work of the SIDO programme and assess viable funding options for the continuation of the programme in 2011 onwards
  • Monitor, inform and guide the of the work of the Cara Centre

It is important that the development of sport for people with disabilities in mainstream and disability specific forms continues to be prioritised. Sport can and should be enjoyed by everyone in our community. It is also an important component of the role-out of the National Disability Strategy at local level.

For more information on the steering committee, or to feed in your comments/issues of concern please contact Louise Mc Cann (DFI Support Officer), who will represent DFI at the Steering Group, at or phone 01 4250126.

Department of Social Protection Update

The Disability Consultative Forum for the Department of Social Protection took place on the 15th June 2010. The Consultative Forum brings key stakeholders together to discuss and monitor the implementation of the Disability Sectoral Plan and key issues in relation to social protection and disability. The following provides a brief note on the last meeting of the Forum.

Update on Department of Social Protection Sectoral Plan

The transfer of functions recently announced by the Government will impact on this Department”s Sectoral Plan. The following are the changes affecting the Department of Social Protection:

  • The Social Inclusion Division and Family Affairs has transferred to Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs with effect from 1st May 2010
  • Equality and Diversity has transferred from Department of Justice and Law Reform to Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs with effect from 1st June 2010
  • Responsibility for all FÁS functions (including employment services and community programmes) has transferred to the Department of Education and Skills as an interim arrangement
  • Eventually, employment services and community programmes will transfer to Department of Social Protection when the necessary primary legislation is enacted, which will separate FÁS between vocational training elements and employment services and community programmes.
  • The Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2010 will give the Minister for Social Protection the authority for FÁS Employment Services and Community Programmes, and for the Rural Social Scheme and the Community Support Programme when they transfer to this Department
  • The Rural Social Scheme and the Community Support Programme will transfer from Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs

There are a number of issues including IT systems and legislative requirements to be dealt with before the transfers outlined can be fully completed.

Disability Allowance (DA) Review

The DA review is currently with the Quality Assurance Team and will be published when this examination has been completed.

Partial Capacity Pilot Project

Provision is being made to introduce a Partial Capacity Scheme. The precise details of the scheme are being developed at present and will be set out in Regulations to be introduced later in the year. The pilot scheme will be confined initially to those who apply for exemptions from the conditions governing entitlement to Invalidity Pension and Illness Benefit in order to take up employment. It was agreed that the Regulations governing the scheme could be presented to the group when available.

Respite Care Grant

The vast majority of Carers respite grants were issued on the 3rd of June. The amount of the grant is 1700 Euro. Over 71,000 carers benefit from this and it is paid automatically to carers in receipt of Schemes such as Carers Allowance, Carers Benefit and Domiciliary Care. Other full time Carers who might not be eligible for these schemes may apply separately for it.

The expenditure for the Respite Care Grant (RCG) is estimated at over 153 million for 2010.Carers providing care for more than one person can claim a grant in respect of each person that they are caring for. In previous years the grant was paid to recipients of schemes, such as Carers Allowance, Carers Benefit and Domiciliary Care, by cheque, but this year it was paid through the customer”s existing payment method in the interest of convenience, security, cost etc. Stand-alone RCG customers were paid by cheque as normal.

Agency Arrangements

A presentation was given on the provisions for the appointment of agents to receive social welfare payments on behalf of customers who cannot collect their own payment (Type 1 Agent), and those who are medically certified as being unable to manage their own affairs (Type 2 Agent). All agency forms are available on the Department”s website, . The members of the forum had a good discussion on concerns and challenges with regard to the arrangements, and the Department was clear that its objective is to protect the best interest of the customer in the provision of income supports and their delivery. The department stressed that if it become aware of difficulties in any agency arrangement, then the arrangements will be reviewed. If you have any concerns please send them to the Department directly or if you would like to discuss the policy aspect, please contact Louise Mc Cann, contact details below.

New Publication

A new publication, “ Entitlements for children with disabilities ” is available from your local Citizens Information Centre

For further information please contact Louise Mc Cann (DFI Support Officer) with regard to the Department of Social Protection Disability Consultative Forum at 01 4250126 or . While individual cases cannot be progressed this is an important mechanism to advocate with regard to key social policy issues.

NCBI Centre for Inclusive Technology Making Virtual Users a Reality

We are living in an increasingly digital world. Everyday products such as telephones and washing machines now come equipped with complex digital controls and displays. Designers of mainstream products rarely consider the needs of older users or users with disabilities when designing. As a result many users are excluded from enjoying new products.

NCBI's Centre for Inclusive Technology (CFIT) is working on novel ways to make sure everyday products such as mobile phones and washing machines are easier to use for older people and people with disabilities. NCBI's Centre for Inclusive Technology (CFIT) is tackling this issue through the VICON project.
The VICON project aims to change the way products are designed, developing 'virtual humans' that will make it easier for designers to take account of the needs of older users with physical and sensory impairments.

VICON is an EU-funded project involving the University of Bremen (BIBA and TZI), Fraunhofer Institute of Technology (FIT ), Industry partners DORO and ARCELIK, The Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID) and NCBICFIT.

Further information can be found on the project website at: and on the NCBI CFIT website at:

Education & Training

Ageing, Health and Quality of Life of People with Intellectual Disability: Preparing for Policy and Service Responses in Ireland"

A one day conference will take place on Friday, 17th September 2010, 9.00am - 430pm, thepurpose of which the conference is to bring together people who are interested in the ageing population of people with intellectual disability in Ireland. The conference will provide a platform for national and international exchange, and a point of connection for all attendees, to help bridge the policy and practice gap between ageing and intellectual disability.

A wide range of speakers, from across the disability and ageing sectors, will share their knowledge, insights and experience. Speakers will include Mr. John Moloney, TD, and Minister for Equality, Disability and Mental Health. Ms. Áine Brady, TD, and Minister for Older People and Health Promotion, Professor Gerald Quinn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy NUI Galway and Professor Philip McCallion, Director of the University at Albany, Center for Excellence in Aging United States and CO – PI of IDS – TILDA, Professor Chris Bigby will present a key note address entitled: The Lived Experience of Ageing with an Intellectual Disability and additional national and international speakers will address issues in understanding the meaning of ageing in persons with intellectual disability.

Hosted by School of Nursing & Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, 24 D'Olier Street, Dublin 2 Friday, 17th September 2010, 9.00am – 4.30pm
For Book Registration or further information please contact Jeni Ryan, Administrative Officer – Events School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity Collage Dublin, 24 D”Olier Street Dublin 2.Telephone 01-8963860 e-mail

Invitation to Seminar hosted by The Social Policy and Ageing Research Centre (SPARC) and The Living with Dementia Research Programme (LiD), School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin

  • Speaker: Sheila Furness Senior Lecturer in Social Work at the University of Bradford
  • Topic: A hindrance or a help? The contribution of inspection to the quality of care in homes for older people
  • Date Monday 13th September, 2010
  • Time 4:00pm - 5:30 pm
  • Location Conference Room, 6th floor, 3 College Green (directions available at reception)

For bookings please contact Early booking is advised

For further information and directions, please go to the SPARC website

Building a Secure Future for People with Acquired Brain Injury

People with acquired brain injury (ABI) face many hurdles in their pathway to rehabilitation and recovery. The role of those delivering social and health care to this group should be focused on helping survivors of ABI build a secure future. A cornerstone of this process is to deliver personalised services to each individual, through the routes of finance, housing and care provision. This UK conference will explore how these needs are being delivered. The Conference will take place on Tuesday 26 October 2010 at ORT House Conference Centre, London NW1

The long-term impact of ABI on some individuals can make it difficult for them to maintain a home – with homelessness being a particular problem facing this group. And as recovery for many is “work in progress”, different accommodation needs are required during the stages of the process. These important areas will be explored both in plenary and workshop sessions.

The aims of the conference are:

  • To understand the ABI landscape and what commissioning and resources are available to ABI survivors
  • To explore what personalisation means for people with ABI, including personalised health budgets
  • To appreciate the issues around stable accommodation and security of tenure facing people with ABI and what solutions are out there
  • To recognise that people with ABI must be safeguarded and how this should be carried forward
  • To explain the underlying legal issues across rights to housing, litigation, heads of damages and continuing care assessment

Click here to download the conference flyer or to book online
For further information call Pavilion on 0844 880 5061 or email

General Information

Carer of the Year Awards

The Carers Association”s Carers of the Year and Young Carer of the Year (under 18) Awards are now open for nominations. If you or someone you know is caring for someone else and you would like to nominate them for an award, you can do so by filling in the nomination form and returning it to: Carers of the Year Awards, The Carers Association, Market Square, Tullamore, Co. Offaly. Alternatively nominations can be made online via .

All entries will receive a commemorative certificate and four regional winners are chosen. The National Carers of the Year 2010 will be announced at a special ceremony later this year. Nomination forms can be obtained at Carers Association Centres, doctor”s surgery”s, pharmacies, community centres and voluntary organisations nationwide. They can also be obtained by contacting CareLine 1800 24 07 24. The deadline for receipt of entries is 10 September 2010.

International Federation for Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus (IFSBH) and EU Contest – It's about you!

International Federation for Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus and Bayer Schering are planning to launch a second report about the prevention of Neural Tube Defects in 2011. In this second report we would like to include testimonials from people of all ages with Spina Bifida and/or from their parents, partners and friends.

Many people are familiar with the medical description of Spina Bifida, and words like neural tube defect, congenital malformation, or birth defect. Yet there's more to your life than "having" Spina Bifida, or for family member or partners and friends to be "care takers".

We would like you to show the world what it actually means to live with Spina Bifida.

You may go to school, study, and work, spend time with friends, have a hobby, participate in sports, be part of an organisation, and in general have something that you feel passionate about.

As a family member or partner you may enjoy certain activities together, or you can feel particularly proud of something your loved one does. It doesn't have to be anything "heroic", sometimes the smallest achievements can be tremendous victories.

IF would like you to capture a specific moment in your life that you would like to share with the world. Please feel free to write about, and show, anything that is important to you. Tell us what it is that defines you or your relationship. After all, it's about you!

All you have to do is enter a video together with a written story about your chosen subject, and comply with the eligibility requirements; to participate in IF's EU Contest It's about you!?

Eligibility requirements

  • Living in the European Union/Norway and
  • You have Spina Bifida or
  • A family member has Spina Bifida or
  • Your partner or friend has Spina Bifida and
  • Entry consists of both video and written testimonial
  • The written testimonial should be in the English language

Deadline of the contest is August 31, 2010

Entries received after this date may still be used for publication, but will not be included in the contest.
Note: By entering the contest you grant IF permission to use your entry in any media to educate the general public about life with Spina Bifida.
For more information about the contest submission requirements and how to enter, please download the contest information and entry form .

If you have any questions, you can contact IF's Communications officer Renée Jopp:

Positive Attitudes & Actions for Inclusion

This conference, featuring the Irish Premier of “Including Samuel”, a special needs documentary film by Dan Habib, will take place on Thursday 7th October 2010 from 7:30pm at the D4 Hotel, Ballsbridge, Dublin (formerly Jury”s)

The keynote Speaker will be Minister John Maloney, TD, Minister for State with responsibility for Equality, Disability and Mental Health
For further information please go to .

UCIT (Ireland) Ltd – Financing Social Enterprise

UCIT Ltd. is one of the largest providers of Social Finance to the Community & Voluntary sector in Ireland, having invested to date some €30 million in almost 240 projects. Their existing access to funds within the Republic for onward investment, solely to community based entities, equates to almost €100 million.
UCIT are currently endeavouring to ensure that all eligible groups within the border region and areas within Co. Meath are aware of the existence of this social finance and know how to go about accessing it when required. In particular, it has become apparent that community groups working on behalf of those with disabilities may need to start looking at ways in which such finance may be used to develop more sustainable approaches to operating in the absence of central government funding.

UCIT is a not-for-personal-profit, open, membership based organisation with charitable status, established in 1995 as a response to a decline in Government grant aid and the increasing difficulties being experienced by voluntary based groups accessing mainstream finance.

They are keen to ascertain whether or not your organisations wish to be included on their database and be kept up to date with developments of this fund which is seen as the community based alternative approach to mainstream finance.

For an informal chat or further clarification on any of the above, please feel free to contact Donal, their Client Relationship Executive in Ardee, at any time, either by phone on 041-6858637, or email:


For information please contact the relevant organisation directly.

Disability Federation of Ireland is a national support and representation mechanism for voluntary disability sector organisations, covering all areas of disability and disabling conditions. There are currently over 100 voluntary disability organisations in the DFI Membership.

National Office
Fumbally Court Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8
Tel: 01 454 7978 Fax: 01 494 7981 E:

Dublin Mid-Leinster
Anthony Carrick
Dun Laoghaire, Dublin South East, Wicklow (Dublin Office),
Mobile: 086 8206736

Louise McCann
Dublin South City, Dublin South West, Dublin West, Kildare, West Wicklow (Dublin Office)
Mobile: 086 9189750

Jacqueline Thomson (on extended leave – please contact Dublin Office))
Laois, Offaly, Longford, Westmeath (Dublin Office)
Tel: 01 454 7978 Fax: 01 494 7981 E:

Lillian Buchanan
Support Officer – Policy and Research (Dublin Office)
Tel: 01 424 0127

Dermot O”Donnell
Support Officer – Support for Organisations (Dublin Office)
Tel: 01-4250125

Dublin North-East
Joan O”Donnell
Meath, Louth, Cavan, Monaghan (Dublin Office)
Mobile: 086 3834587

Martin Naughton
Dublin North Central, Dublin North West, Dublin North
Mobile: 086 8207169
Michael Corbett,
Galway, Mayo, Roscommon
C/O DFI, Acres, Newport, Co. Mayo,
Tel: 098 41919,
Mobile: 086 3804750,
Fax: 098 41065,

Marcus Hufsky,
Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal
St. Vincent”s Business Park, Finisklin Road, Sligo
Tel: 071-9150098
Mobile: 086 3811261

Toni Gleeson,
Limerick, North Tipperary, East Limerick, Clare
DFI, The Forge, Croke St. Thurles, Co Tipperary
Mobile: 086 6004526

P.J. Cleere
Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford
DFI, Tinryland, Carlow
Tel: 059 9179431
Mobile: 086 3811064

Alison Ryan
Cork, Kerry
101 North Main Street, Cork
Tel: 021 4271752 Mobile 086 3816323
E: a.ryan@disability-federation .