Newsletter December 2010

Issued on December 1 2010

Protect Disability Funding in Budget 2011

Where disability and disabling conditions exist, they do so together with the other pressures and vulnerabilities that individuals and families face in a recession. Disability can be experienced from childhood into old age, and it is something that individuals and families cannot protect themselves from or provide for through insurance or other means. The State has to be the underwriter, and that is what the National Disability Strategy is about. The forthcoming Budget, we are told, will bring funding cuts to services and to the income supports of disabled people. It funding cuts of the order of 7% for HSE funded disability services, and more in some cases, will have a devastating effects in the year ahead, given the pressures from expanding need.

Current funding needs to stay in place to ensure capacity to provide for existing and growing need. The focus instead needs to be on the early implementation of efficiency measures, and changes in the way services and supports are provided. This relates both to services provided directly by the HSE and those services provided by disability organisations. Let us then see where things are at this time next year. It must also be understood that disabled people and their families are not protected from the wide spread cuts to services and reduction in living standards that are generally taking place. We know the HSE will only implement a policy of prioritisation of services to disabled people if they are expressly instructed to do so by the Minister for Health and Children, as part of the process to put the HSE service plan in place.

Over a year ago the two Government parties made a commitment, in their “Renewed Programme for Government”, that they would “prioritise the interests of people with disabilities and actively advance the implementation of the National Disability Strategy (NDS) throughout the recession”. To implement that commitment they would produce an “NDS Recession Implementation Plan”. To date that has not happened, yet in the past eight weeks a four year budget strategy went from conception to production, and implementation will commence with the Budget.

Government needs to act now to put in place the NDS Recession Implementation Plan and prioritise disability and mental health across key areas, such as health, education and social protection. Government knows, and we know, that they can create and implement strategies in a matter of weeks. Now is the time to ensure that people will not be alone in dealing with the added impact of disability through this recession.

John Dolan CEO


Camphill Communities of Ireland

DFI welcomes Camphill Communities of Ireland as General Members

Camphill Communities of Ireland is part of an international charitable trust working with people with intellectual disabilities and other kinds of special needs. The aim of the organisation is to create sustainable communities where adults and children of all abilities can live, learn and work in healthy environments, and develop relationships based on mutual care and respect. Camphill Communities of Ireland have 18 Special Needs Communities in the Republic of Ireland, mostly land-based, with around 500 people. They endeavour to create an environment that promotes healing and growth in and around nature.

The website is:


DFI National Conference 2010 - Quality in the Mainstreaming of Services for People with Disabilities - “Getting the Balance Right”

DFI’s National Conference 2010 was held on Friday, 12th November. This conference was held with the co-operation of our colleagues in that National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI). The aim of the half-day conference was to examine and explore the meaning of ‘quality service’, when the objective is to enable full citizenship for people with disabilities. Speakers and attendees considered how voluntary disability organisations can deliver quality disability-specific services in a mainstream world. The purpose of the conference was to highlight the importance of using quality systems in managing services for people with disabilities, and also to investigate the challenges in introducing such systems while remaining true to the spirit of mainstreaming services for people with disabilities.

The opening address was given by Maurice Buckley, CEO of NSAI, who discussed “How Standards are Developed”. Two presentations followed this, the first given by Patsy Fitzsimons of the Office of the Ombudsman on “User’s Perspective: the Need for Quality”, and the second given by Terry Dunne, of the Charities Regulator Unit on the topic of “Regulator’s Perspective: Regulatory Standards & Charities Act”.

Over recent times, disability services have been subject to a wide variety of developments such, as Charities Legislation, HSE Service Level Agreements and the development of HIQA Standards for Residential Services. The issue of ensuring quality in services is a consistent theme in all of these developments and was recognised with the topics that were covered by speakers and presenters on the day.

Ann Kennelly, Interim National Care Group Lead, Disability Services, HSE spoke from the funder’s perspective, entitled “Quality and Disability Services”. We were also pleased to welcome Professor Eamonn Murphy from the University of Limerick who gave a presentation on “Introducing Quality Systems: Lessons from other Sectors”.

Two further presentations were given before the workshop sessions were held.

Niall Byrne, Deputy Director of Social Services Inspectorate, HIQA spoke on the theme of “Governance and Risk”. To conclude the presentations, DFI Support
Officer for Organisations, Dermot O’Donnell spoke on the development of “Organisation Healthcheck & PQASSO: DFI Supported Model” and how DFI can support organisations to focus on and introduce quality for their services. We would like to thank all of them for their contribution for a successful conference.

Four workshops were chaired by the Island of Ireland PQASSO mentors, Helena MaCormac, Pauline McGeown, Derek O’Reilly, and Gladys Swanton. The mentors facilitated a discussion on the topic of “The positives and negatives that implementing a Quality System can have on the mainstreaming of services for people with disabilities”.

Again we would like to thank all who participated in the event, both attendees and presenters, and in particular the PQASSO mentors. The learning from the workshop will be circulated in the very near future.

DFI considers this conference not as an end in itself but rather as a first step on a significant journey. We hope to be accompanied by a growing number of member organisations as our journey progresses!

If you would like any further information on DFI’s Healthcheck, the PQASSO system or on the conference itself, please contact Dermot O’Donnell, DFI Support Officer, on or on 086-7808639.

The Emotional Cost of Cutbacks

Maeve Halpin, Registered Psychologist

Unprecedented challenges are facing community and voluntary CEOs, managers and Board Directors. The sector is traumatised by pay cuts, job losses and reduction in services due to cutbacks. Perhaps it is seen as an easy target for savings by Government; talk of partnership and collaboration now rings very hollow.

New Demands on CEOs and Board Directors

Sector leaders have to be seen to maintain morale and confidence while implementing drastic cuts in staffing levels and service provision. They have to be decisive in a time of uncertainty. They must articulate a sense of mission, purpose and direction in this new, uncharted territory. The speed of our boom-to-bust trajectory has left many reeling and suddenly facing difficult and, sometimes, impossible decisions about choosing which loyal staff to let go or which essential front-line service to withdraw. Those drawn to work in the C and V Sector are, typically, caring people with a strong sense of civic responsibility, people who would never have envisaged themselves having to make such calculated decisions based purely on external financial imperatives.

The stress caused can be exacerbated by complicated HR issues that are generated by resource reductions, issues for which the CEO may have little or no training. Suspicion, anxiety and conflict in the workplace can replace an atmosphere of camaraderie and trust that a CEO may have worked for years to achieve. Clear communication to staff about the rationale for cutbacks is essential, as well as management being seen to share the pain. The CEO needs to exemplify professionalism, impartiality and ability to cope, often in the face of accusations of favouritism, or lack of co-operation from staff.

Availing of Support

In conjunction with Maeve, DFI recently launched an External Supervision Service for staff and Boards of DFI member groups. External Supervision is a unique, cost-effective support service, which DFI has developed in response to the expressed needs of member organisations. External support provides a dedicated space away from the workplace to reflect on one's work, with an objective, experienced professional, in a confidential, one-to-one setting. Making space for discussion, reflection and “thinking outside the box” is invaluable when difficult decisions have to be made and stressful situations managed. It is a place to ventilate and to access emotional support, if work becomes a battleground.

Taking time out allows some perspective to be regained when feeling swamped or under siege. With an opportunity to consider different options in a calm, neutral environment, novel solutions and approaches can be contemplated. Self-care is vital when work is stressful, and accessing external support is can be a useful tool in the armoury in the management of critical workplace change.

The External Supervision service is provided in Dublin by Maeve Halpin, who is a practising counsellor and Social and Organisational Psychologist, with many years’ experience in the Community and Voluntary sector, latterly as Chair of the Carmichael Centre for Voluntary Groups. Contact details for Maeve as:
Maeve Halpin. MA, M. Phil., Dip. Couns. Psych. Registered Psychologist, 122 Ranelagh,Dublin 6: Phone 087-287 7837 .
Full information is available at

Outside Dublin, this service is provided in the Tipperary / Limerick area by Peadar Walsh, BA, H. Dip. Peadar is qualified and experienced in career guidance, life coaching, stress management and work / life balance and has over 23 years experience in management roles in the Community and Voluntary sector. Contact Peadar on .

HR & Employment Law – Update

Disability Federation of Ireland, in conjunction with Adare Human Resource Management, has in place a support structure for member organisations to avail of discounted Human Resource and Employment Law Support Services exclusively for DFI members.

Distinction between Volunteers and Employees

It is important to have a distinction between volunteers and employees within an organisation. Generally, volunteers are people who carry out work in the organisation without pay. Employment legislation such as the Unfair Dismissals Acts and Terms of Employment Information Acts refer to employees and employee rights and as such in order for an individual to exercise their rights under those acts they must be categorized as an employee.

Although a volunteer does not have the same rights as an employee as detailed within Employment Legislation, that is not to say, that an organisation should not have certain practices in place in order to regulate the operation of volunteers in the organisation. Best practice would suggest that volunteers should undergo an induction into the organisation including an explanation of day to day work of the organisation. Furthermore, it is recommended that volunteers sign an agreement. Examples of what would be contained in a volunteer agreement are as follows;

  • The expectations of the organisation (confidentiality, ethos, timekeeping, code of conduct, child protection etc.)
  • The expectations of the volunteer (support and supervision, reimbursement of expenses, access to complaint procedure)
  • Name of supervisor
  • Duration of trial period
  • Start and end date of role
  • Any other organisational specific clauses relating to health and safety etc.

Organisations should be cognisant of the employment related issues and rights that may arise, should it be unclear whether an individual is acting as a volunteer or employed as an employee within an organisation.

For further information on the HR Support Services provided click on the link below:

Skill Programme Graduations 2010

Over 100 Staff From DFI Participating Member Organisations Attend Graduation Ceremonies In Cork, Dublin And Galway.

SKILL Graduation Dublin Nov 2010

Left to right from MS Society: Zena Stewart, Anita Aldersone, Mary Flanagan, Margaret McGuire (line manager), Rose Tucker and Johanna Farrelly. All recieving certification on 20th November in the Helix, DCU, in SKILL, FETAC Level 5 Health Service Skills Award. Congratulations and well done to everyone!

DFI would like offer congratulations to all staff in participating member organisations who are currently attending graduation ceremonies from the SKILL Programme Training Programme.

The goal of SKILL Programme is to provide accredited training and upskilling of staff within the health sector, and thereby to increase efficiency and effectiveness within the workplace and in turn to increase the quality and standard of services provided.

Graduations for 2010 are being held throughout November in Cork, Dublin and Galway. Graduating staff were conferred with awards for FETAC Level 5 Health Service Skills and FETAC Level 6 Supervisory Skills.

Participants have the wonderful chance to come together with their family, friends and employers and recognise and celebrate the successful culmination of all the hard work and the sacrifices which have had to be made by graduates.

Graduations continue this Saturday, 26th November 2010 in the Galway Bay Hotel, Salthill Galway. Congratulations to the 59 staff from DFI participating member organisations who will be in attendance!

DFI Delivering Member Services in the Virtual Way

ICT services have always been hailed as a technology tool for businesses to achieve more cost effective and efficient ways of working. ICT services such as webinars, virtual meetings and computer based training are some of the ways that can aid orginisations to reduce travel costs and maximise IT and resource investments. For years the broadband infrastructure in Ireland was lagging behind other countries resulting in poor delivery of video services. Ireland has improved over the last two years in the delivery fast broadband services.

DFI is now using online video services and would encourage member organisations to look at such services as a way of reducing the cost of travel. DFI has successfully streamed a number of events such as the Pre Learning Advice (PLA) session for the SKILL programme. This event had a number of participants in virtual attendance by using the online service. Participants could get involved by asking questions relayed through the online system.

Feedback from one online participant noted that “The streaming has worked perfectly for me so far and has been a very effective and efficient way for me to participate in the meeting”

DFI currently delivers online video services using to stream live events. The next event to be streamed is the DFI platform for the Eastern region, which takes place on the 2nd December 2010. You can contact Anthony Carrick to arrange booking. All you need is a computer with access to the internet through broadband services.

DFI are also using short videos to communicate our work if you would like to see a sample of a video production for our Skill Programme, created in partnership with Joe Cleere from Fretless Media, click on our website link:

Update on the DFI facilitated Garda Vetting Networks

For some time now DFI has been providing a Garda vetting gateway, through a number of lead agencies, to organisations in the community and voluntary organisations that are unable to obtain vetting for their staff and volunteers in their own right. There are now five Garda Vetting Network lead organisations. DFI and the Garda Vetting Network lead organisations, held their annual review meeting in November. The networks, membership uptake and process were reviewed, as was the cost of this service to network members. It was agreed that from 1st December 2010 the fee will be significantly reduced from €38 to €20 per application for DFI member organisations, and from €50 to €25 per application for non-DFI member organisations. There is also a further reduced price available for DFI member organisations. An organisation can pay €300 in advance for the processing of 20 applications in one twelve month period per organisation, making a saving of €100. Please note that these applications can be staggered within one twelve month period.

We would like to remind members that Garda Vetting is an essential part of any HR management system. Not only does Garda Vetting apply to newly appointed staff and volunteers, it also has to be part of the organisation’s on-going management process. The Garda Vetting Unit recommends that staff and volunteers should be re-vetted at least every three years, or even sooner should the need arise.

Apart from the obvious benefit of having peace of mind that staff and volunteers have been vetted and are therefore suitable for employment with the organisation, there is also another important reason to have a vetting system in place.

Most DFI members receive funding from the HSE to provide their services. As part of the funding agreements, i.e. Service Level Arrangements, recipients of funding are obliged to have systems in place to ensure that staff and other workers who are in direct contact with vulnerable children and adults are fully vetted.

Therefore, we urge all DFI members and associated organisations to ensure that a suitable vetting strategy is in place in their organisation. Organisations that do not have a system in place and who wish to participate in the DFI led vetting network, can also avail of a Garda Vetting Policies and Procedure template, which is available free of charge on request from DFI.

For more information contact your regional Support Officer or Eleanor Reece at DFI National Office Tel: 01-708 0101.


“Advancing the National Disability Strategy: Building on Comparative & International Innovation”

This conference is being hosted by the Centre for Disability Law and Policy in NUI Galway. DFI greatly welcomes this conference as a necessary critical intervention to ensure that here in Ireland we have the most effective approach and structures to ensuring the full implementation of the National Disability Strategy (NDS).
The conference aims to start a discussion about international best practice in implementing the UN Convention and the success factors which enables National Disability Strategies to have a real impact on the lives of people with disabilities.

Article 4(3) of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities requires States to closely consult with and actively involve people with disabilities in the development and implementation of legislation, policies and in the decision making processes.

DFI has participated in the Disability Legislative Consultative Groups (DLCG) which worked with Government in the development of the Disability Act 2005 and the creation of the National Disability Strategy. Since then we have been a member of the Disability Stakeholders Group (DSG) which engages with Government in relation to the implementation and monitoring of the NDS. Our overall focus in this has been to support and advance the implementation of the NDS on behalf of all people with disabilities and mental health needs.

It is the view of DFI that the DSG needs to review its methods of operation and its ambition and strategies if it is to maximise its impact on behalf of disabled people to ensure the delivery of the NDS. DFI has been active in seeking such a review process within the DSG. We have also engaged with Government to ensure that the implementation of its National Disability Strategy continues to be a priority for them throughout the recession.

The Conference takes place on December 10th 2010 in The Radisson Blu Hotel, Lough Atalia Road, Galway, and further details are available from the website of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy,

A draft programme is available at

If you are interested in attending and/or have any special requirements, please contact Eileen Glynn, Events Office, Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway at Tel: 091 494012 Email: Mobile/SMS: 0876660634 Fax: 091495569. Online registration for the conference is available at:

We would appreciate if you could circulate this information to any of your colleagues or contacts who may be interested in attending the event.

Implementing the National Disability Strategy through Local Actions

For the National Disability Strategy (NDS) to become a real force for change in the lives of people with disabilities, it must be implemented at both national and local levels. DFI continues to be an active force at national level, stimulating interdepartmental working, and participating in monitoring and consultative structures. DFI has also been active at local level working with local authorities and a variety of local partners to bring about positive change. In addition DFI has maintained strong coordination between national and local actions.

Change at local level has come about mainly through the work of local authorities, through access implementation plans, participation on local structures by representatives of sectoral plan agencies, DFI, and its member organisations. In the main, these actions have centred on physical access, which represents just one strand of the NDS. Full implementation of the NDS requires actions which are part of a universal approach, encompassing access, employment, housing, transport and all other facets of life which, experienced by everyone in society.

In 2011 DFI Support Officers will be working more closely with local authorities and DFI member and partner organisations to bring about a more universal approach to implementing the NDS at local level.

Plan of Action A universal approach to disability issues means that what is required to ensure local implementation of the NDS should be achieved as part of an overall mainstreaming agenda. This means that DFI is working not only with the disability sector, but also with a variety of partners locally, to ensure that access for people with disabilities to local services and supports are part of the overall effort to make public services accessible to all members of the community. DFI Support Officers will be introducing actions in their local areas across the following strategic themes:

  • Access Transport
  • Housing Employment

Actions will take place through local government and other local structures, maximising existing partnerships, and establishing new working relationships in the community. Where representatives are invited to represent DFI on local structures, or are already in place, training will be provided by DFI. Actions at local and national levels will be coordinated by an in-house working group in DFI.

For further information contact: South East Support Officer P.J. Cleere by e-mail at or phone P.J. on 086-3811-064

Debriefing Session for Disability Service Provider Participants in Pilot Programme

This event took place on 15th November 2010, Dr. Steevens’s Hospital, Dublin. The purpose of the meeting was to report back to those attendees on the outcome of the pilot questionnaire that was completed by a number of DFI member organisations.

The event was opened by Colm Desmond, HSE Value For Money (VFM) and Policy Review Project Manager. Colm thanked the organisations for their participation in the pilot and noted the very high level of co-operation, with high return and response rates. He recalled that there were two questionnaires to be completed for the pilot. The aim of the first questionnaire was to provide information from 2005 to 2008, because there is a gap in knowledge for this period. The second questionnaire was to provide baseline information for 2009 to complement data from the Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

There was participation by 25 organisations in the pilot, these organisations receiving a total of €423m from the HSE. The participants varied in size, and covered both the physical and sensory and intellectual disability sectors. The return rate of questionnaires was 72%.

Two presentations were made at the event, the first by Eoin Dormer, HSE, in relation to trends in client, service and cost bases over a number of years. The second presentation was given by Ann McGrane, DoHC and Project Team Manager, who discussed the 2009 non-pay questionnaire, the purpose of which was to gather direct and indirect non-pay data for 2009 to supplement the data on Schedule 3 of the SLA forms for 2009, and other issues in this regard.

During the question and answer session a number of issues were raised, including the methodology used by organisations to quantify the costs of services, and if they used an accounting system or estimation, the definition of non-pay costs, andproblems with rolling out questionnaire to organisations. Many organisations were concerned about the deadlines for returning the completed questionnaire, and whether organisations would be penalised for late return. The Department stated that there would be no sanctions, but that all organisations in receipt of over €250,000 must complete the questionnaire. It was requested that the Department circulates a note of the proceedings of the meeting to all participants.

The Department noted that the VFM timelines were very ambitious, and that there are many variable to consider before recommendations are made. Funding needs to be better targeted, and Budget 2011 will impact on organisations and funding.

Further information on this event from Eleanor Reece, DFI on 01- 454 7978 or by email


HSE Report on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

The HSE has recently launched its second annual report on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). This report provides an update of the current stage of development of the HSE’s CAMHS services as outlined in ‘A Vision for Change’. The annual report provides vital data on: the number of new cases seen; waiting time to be seen; and mental health problems presented by age and gender. In addition, the report provides data on the admission of young people under the age of 18 years for inpatient treatment.

The expansion of CAMHS teams was one of the key recommendations of the 2006 strategy “A Vision for Change”. CAMHS provide specialist mental health assessment and treatment to young people by way of a multidisciplinary approach. A characteristic of CAMHS teams is that they can draw on their multidisciplinary makeup to undertake comprehensive and complex assessment and treatment approaches. In addition, they can provide packages of care where more than one professional or intervention is required in order to meet the needs of young person and their family or carers.

Some of the main findings of the report are as follows:

  • 55 multi-disciplinary community Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services teams in place providing care and treatment plans to children and adolescents
  • 7,651 new cases were seen by community CAMHS teams in the period October 1st 2009 to September 30th 2010
  • Of 7,651 new cases, 47% were seen within 1 month of referral and 69% within 3 months of referral
  • In the first 9 months of 2010, the majority (63%) of young people under 18 years of age, were admitted to Child and Adolescent Mental Health units

The full document can be found at .

HSE National Specialist in Accessibility

The HSE has appointed a National Specialist in Accessibility who will provide guidance, advice and strategic support in the promotion of access for people with disabilities. Caoimhe Gleeson, who formerly worked as Equality Officer in HSE West, has been appointed to this role. She has worked in the area of equality, human rights and social inclusion in the public and community and voluntary sector in Ireland since 1996.

The purpose of the role is to develop a strategic framework for the implementation of Part 3 of the Disability Act 2005 in the HSE. The post is based with the HSE Office of Consumer Affairs and will work closely with the HSE National Office for Disability. Over the coming months, Caoimhe will develop a plan to achieve compliance with Part 3 of the Disability Act, specifically in relation to actions 25-44 of the Department of Health and Children Sectoral Plan. The plan will outline how specific commitments can be developed and met within the HSE. The plan will detail the mechanisms, supports and structures required to undertake the following:

  • The establishment of a consultative structure on accessibility and health involving key internal and external stakeholders
  • An audit of accessibility of services and the identification of pathways of accessibility in the HSE.
  • The identification of and development of a network of designated access advocates across the HSE.
  • The development of good practice guidelines for mainstreaming accessibility.
  • The promotion of a complaints process under section 38 and 39 of the Disability Act.
  • The provision and promotion of disability training for HSE staff.
  • The identification and promotion of good practice and accessibility.
  • The strengthening of strategic links between the HSE and a range of stakeholder groups who have a role in universal access, accessibility and advocacy.

Caoimhe will be widely consulting with individuals and NGOs to gather views on how access for people with disabilities into mainstream services across the HSE can be enhanced and improved. For further details please contact: or telephone 071-9820266/ 087-6505793.


Conference of the EU Social Platform

The Platform of European Social NGOs is the alliance of representative European federations and networks of non-governmental organisations active in the social sector. It is committed to the advancement of the principles of equality, solidarity, non discrimination and the promotion and respect of fundamental rights for all within Europe and in particular the European Union.

The conference held on 4th and 5th November was the first stage of a two year project to develop a common foundation for ‘care’ that respects the rights of individuals, guarantees access to services and promotes social inclusion. People representing a wide range of social organisations and groups participated, including anti-poverty networks, the European Disability Forum, European Network for Independent Living and Eurocarers. DFI was invited to give a presentation on “The effects of the financial crisis on social services for people with disabilities in Ireland”.

The Social Platform identified areas where it can press for progress as well as defend against any retreats during the current global crisis. The conference revealed differences across the European countries in the depth of the crisis and its impact, although increased reliance on market-based ‘solutions’ seemed quite pervasive. Another difference related to the importance of low-paid migrant workers in providing care. But common concerns were most evident, in particular, about state recognition of its responsibility for care and support. Valuing unpaid/informal /family care and strengthening relationships between them and formal carers was widely seen as critical to quality care. The limitations of the EU ‘market’ for people with disabilities who wish to travel across borders was one of the gaps highlighted.
EU initiatives already underway were also noted at the conference, including the EU Disability Strategy 2010-2020, the Europe 2020 anti-poverty target and a quality framework for long term care for dependent persons. DFI is taking advantage of the tools offered by the EU to progress Ireland’s disability strategy.

For further information, please click


Changing the Narrative on Disability in Ireland

On 15th November a number of mostly Dublin-based voluntary organisations gathered to listen to two community activists describe how they worked, in Ireland, Britain and elsewhere, to support members of communities to support each other. They suggested that social service providers need to recognise that their community is the key ingredient for people with disabilities (and others) to achieve what they value most, such as having friends and a sense of contributing.

The workshop discussion considered how organisations might engage with local communities and how to identify the assets that often are hidden within communities. Further work developing the approach is anticipated.

For further information, please contact Eamonn Teague, Walkinstown Association, at


Debra Ireland

Time to reduce your costs by sharing office space and resources

Debra Ireland suggests that survival and growth in the community and voluntary sector will be based on a major re-think of our costs model. There will be a need to share our costs and resources as much as possible.

With this in mind, Debra Ireland currently have a number of desk spaces and a larger office available to rent on a short or long term basis in Rathmines. They are currently building a not for profits centre and the following organisation are on board; Irish Platform for Patients' Organisations, Science & Industry (IPPOSI) Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure (BBMRI) The Medical Research Charities Group (MRCG), Fundraising Ireland & Database Marketing Solutions

Debra Ireland can offer you a spacious desk area with storage, use of their meeting room, IT support, ESB, cleaning facilities, tea & coffee, reception area, access to photocopier, fax service, admin services, accountancy service & access to in house design facility. You may only need space which is also fine. The office is close to both Charlemont and Harcourt Luas stops, Dublin Bikes dock, various bus routes, numerous shops and cafes and is less than a ten minute walk to St Stephens Green.
Debra Ireland can guarantee that their rates are very competitive against today's current market value. For more information or to arrange a viewing please contact either Jimmy Fearon CEO or Lynn on 01 412 6924 or email iimmv@debraireland.orq

Annual General Meeting of Aspire

Annual General Meeting of Aspire will take place on Saturday 4th December 2010 at 10.00am in the Carmichael Centre, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7. For further information phone 01 8780029 or visit

Just launched! An Essential Guide to Collaborative Working Making a Difference Together?

Working together, with effective planning, can help organisations to achieve shared aims, strengthen service delivery and be more resilient during times of austerity.
Charities Evaluation Services’ National Performance Programme, in association with Collaboration Benefits, has launched Making a Difference Together? A guide to planning, monitoring and evaluating voluntary and community sector collaborative working

This practical guide is essential reading for charities considering or approaching collaborative working. It covers the steps and issues you need to consider to develop an effective evaluation framework for your collaborative project, and helps you to know whether collaborative working really is making a difference.

Download your free copy of Making a Difference Together?

Carer Support Programme

Further to the recent media coverage of young carers and the recent introduction of some specific young carer projects, Care Alliance Ireland and Crosscare (Carer Support Programme) are facilitating a meeting with individuals/organisations who have an interest in this area, with a view to building consensus and momentum with respect to the best way forward to progress support services in this area. The meeting is also an opportunity for organisations to share the learning to date and keep each other up to date on new developments.

The meeting is open to any organisations or individuals who are committed to better supports for Ireland's young carers.

The meeting will take place in Coleraine House, Coleraine Street on Tuesday January 25th from 10.30am-12.30pm.

Please indicate your interest in partaking in this initiative by Tuesday December 14th, by e-mail to

Data Protection Information

The Deputy Data Commissioner, Gary Davis recently gave a presentation at the Irish Charities Tax research Group conference on the collection and use of personal information by charities. He pointed out that the right to personal privacy is a human right and that data protection rules exist to uphold those rights. He outlined the necessity to seek consent to hold information, and to hold it only for a specified purpose in a safe and secure place. Information must be kept relevant, up to date for an appropriate period of time, and the individual the right to access that information if they so choose.

Sensitive data, including information on physical or mental health, racial origin, political opinion, religious or other beliefs, sexual life, criminal convictions, and alleged commission of offence or trade union membership are all regarded as sensitive data requiring special protection. The Data Protection Acts 2008 and 2003, as well as the Electronic Privacy Regulations 2003 & 2008 provide for protection, where of service user/client files or of donor information. Some complaints received by the Data Commissioner have related to charities holding on to donor PPSNs to repopulate CHY 2 certificates, with the result that specific guidance has now been issued on this. For further information refer to the website: . The conference presentation is available to download from .

Fundraising & the Tax relief Scheme for Donations to Charities

Liam Keogh from the Revenue Commissioners Charities gave a very informative presentation at the recent Irish Charities Tax Reform Group (ICTRG) conference on the tax relief scheme for donations to charities, where donations exceed €250 per annum. He pointed out that charities fundraisers must ensure that donors specify if they are PAYE only workers of if they are self-assessed, as this affects the charities ability to recoup the appropriate tax form Revenue. In 2009 €31.6m was paid out in the form of tax refunds under the scheme in relation to 118,000 PAYE only taxpayers, up form €15.5m in 2005. The current figure for the first 10 months of 2010 indicates a decline of 9% by comparison with the same period for 2009.

Charities must have charitable tax exemption for a minimum of two years before they can apply for authorisation to operate the Donations Scheme and must furnish appropriate documentation including accounts, and details of their activities that supports their charitable purpose as evidence that fundraised monies will be used for charitable purpose before claiming tax relief. Full details of the presentation can be downloaded from .

LEAP: Leading, Educating, Advocating, Planning

For People with Intellectual Disabilities and Autism and their families

Person-centred planning has at its core a belief that all people have their right to plan lives that are personally meaningful and satisfying, and that all people have talents and strengths that they have the right and the responsibility to develop.

This workshop, An Introduction to Person Centred Planning, will give the participants a better understanding and knowledge of person centred planning process.

The event will take place on Saturday December 4th in the Dublin West Education Centre, Old Blessington Road, Tallaght, Dublin 24, from 10.00am – 2.00pm. The cost is 10 Euro per person, and advance booking is advisable.

For further information and pre booking please contact 087 142 4797 or email

Irish Association for Palliative Care Annual Conference

The Irish Association for Palliative Care will be hosting its annual conference on Friday, 26th November in the Hilton Hotel, Dublin 2, with registration open from 9.00 am. The association's AGM begins at 10.00 am; the conference itself starts at 11.00. am. The theme this year is Advance Care Planning: Principles, Process and Preferences.

Further details and booking form available from The Irish Association for Palliative Care Coleraine House, Coleraine St. Dublin7, Phone : 01 8734735 Email :

Foundation Diploma in Training and Education in Supported Employment Call for Interest

The Open Training College is now taking enquiries for the accredited Foundation Diploma in Training and Education in Supported Employment. This is a 12-week course comprising of 2 modules and accredited by NUI Galway. Skills workshops will be delivered in Dublin in January and February 2011. Course assessment is by way of a written assignment that is significantly supported by telephone and email tutorials over the course of the 12 weeks. It is suited to those who aim to assist people with employment support needs to make the transition into integrated paid employment. This includes aspiring job coaches, day centre staff, those working in the Government-supported employment programme and staff of special schools and colleges.

Please contact Conor to confirm your interest in the course and for more information – (01) 2988544 or

Irish Council for Social Housing Calendar

Education & Training Calendar

The ICSH Education and Training Calendar, January – June 2011, is now in print and available from Irish Council for Social Housing, 50 Merrion Square East, Dublin 2.

Phone: 01-6618334 Email: Website:


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 Grogan
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 .