Newsletter January/February 2013

Issued on March 11 2013

News on the HSE National Service Plan

The HSE's National Service Plan was published this month, where it was announced that the allocation for disability services is to be reduced by 1.2%.We will not know the true effect of these cuts until the implementation plans at regional level become available. At the last meeting of the National Consultative Forum (NCF), there was discussion on the need for fairness and consistency across the different regions.

Within the 1.2% cut (€19m) there is an assumption that €6million of this will be achieved through savings made from procurement. In this regard, DFI will attend a meeting with the HSE on the 6 th February to discuss procurement in the area of utility costs, transport costs etc.

At a recent seminar in DFI on Tendering (Disability), a representative from the HSE Disability Unit, informed the group that the HSE intends to consider a number of areas pertaining to social care services including PA services. Over a two month period the National Disability Unit (NDU) will be consulting with users, umbrellas like DFI and with agencies via focus groups as well as one-on-one sessions. It was suggested that many areas required clarification before “going to the marketplace”, i.e. types of PA service, quality criteria including minimum qualification for PAs such as FETAC level 5, and length of tenders. DFI have sent out a note on the procurement issues that were discussed at this seminar to all our member organisations.

These cuts and efficiency savings are happening at a time when the number of people availing of our services is increasing. At the NCF meeting of the 17 th January, DFI emphasised this point and the impact this has in every area of the disability sector. We called for multi- annual service planning in order to establish the true quantum of unmet needs that exists and will exist over the years ahead. The HSE confirmed that this is an area where they have engaged with the Department of Health and it was accepted that this would be a specific work area for the NCF.

Within the National Service Plan, the HSE has stated that it expects that the same level of service to be maintained as last year. DFI also raised the issue of inconsistencies in the data presented in the NSP, particularly in relation to Personal Assistance, and the need for validation of these statistics.

Finally, of note is the engagement by the HSE of Tom Beegan, who will be undertaking a project on Value for Money across the HSE and who will focus on disability at the outset of this work. The implementation plan arising from the Value for Money report is yet to be finalised within the Department of Health, and that will inform the HSE's implementation going into the future.

John Dolan

Chief Executive Officer



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Further information on all DFI member organisations can be found on the website:


National Consultative Forum Update

This is an early and brief update in relation to the HSE post budget situation following a meeting of the National Consultative Forum (NCF). That meeting was attended by Laverne McGuinness, Director of Integrated Services and Liam Woods, Director of Finance. We will issue any further information when it comes to hand.

There is a reduction of 1.2%, that is, €19m for this year. This includes the 0.3% that was announced in the December Budget. The HSE expects the same level of service provision as that achieved last year. Within that €19m there is provision for, assumption of, €6m in savings to be achieved through reduced procurement costs across the sector. A meeting with the HSE staff responsible for procurement has been arranged for the 5 th February and DFI will be in attendance.

Outside of the €19m cut there is provision of €4m in funding to respond specifically to demographic pressures arising from school leavers. DFI made the point that there are demographic pressures in every area of the disability sector. We called for multi-annual service planning in order to establish the true quantum of unmet needs that is, and will exist over the years ahead. The HSE confirmed, in response to our question, that this is an area where they have engaged with the Department of Health. There was acceptance that this would be a specific piece of work for the National Consultative Forum.

Procurement and shared services have been identified as priority areas, both to achieve whatever further savings possible and to achieve clarity that these potential sources have been fully examined. In this context the issue of efficient use of transport was also raised.

The Service Plan is a short document this year and there will be supplementary information available within a few weeks when it is enhanced with the regional plans/ breakdown which will distribute the cuts across the regions. DFI pointed out that there are serious “inconsistencies” in the figures relating to PA in the service plan and sought their early correction. We again stated that the bundling of information on PA and Home Supports is not acceptable and we were assured that the matter is being dealt with, with an anticipated response forthcoming in the next few weeks.

The HSE has engaged Tom Beegan to undertake a project on Value for Money across the HSE and they will be considering disability at the outset. The Value for Money and Policy Review of Disability Services Implementation Plan has to be finalised within the Department of Health and that will inform the HSE implementation work.

There are a number of areas in the Service Plan that are dependent on savings being achieved within the HSE. One of these areas relates to the current negotiations to have a Croke Park 2 Agreement. DFI strongly made the point that the Department of Health and the HSE need to be very active and persistent to ensure that savings/income generation elements are worked on and achieved or we could find ourselves back where we were last August with swinging cuts to PA.

Other issues raised by DFI.

  • DFI raised the €15m allocation for free GP care for people with certain conditions and made the point that people with disabilities require services and supports from across the HSE and that it needs to be recognised and coordinated.
  • That the VFM review did not consider community based supports and services provided by many of our members and that this needs to be a key part of the VfM Implementation Plan. Furthermore these services and approaches develop and support linkages and engagement in full community participation.

The next meeting of the NCF was scheduled for 12 th February. I hope this note is helpful but no doubt it will raise some further questions or queries for you so please revert to us and we will assist as best we can.

The Impact of Tendering

A recent DFI seminar on the impact of tendering highlighted changes underway in how the HSE operates that are affecting voluntary organisations and recipients of health and personal services. Commissioning processes, including tendering as a possible procurement method, have potential to improve outcomes for people, but such benefits are not inevitable, especially in an environment of relentless fiscal constraint.

Tendering has already altered how a segment of home care for older persons is selected and delivered in Ireland, and the impact was considered at the seminar. The tender tended to replace specialist services, such as those for people with dementia, with generic services, mostly provided by private companies, and this took place without the older person or their family carer being able to select which provider to use. On the other hand it was suggested that the quality standard of this community-based service is better maintained than had been the case previously.

At the seminar the HSE representative announced the start of a two month consultation process with a view to establishing tender specifications in the area of Home Supports and Personal Assistant (PA) services for a competition to be held before the end of 2013. There was an extensive airing of the complexities of making this change at the seminar.

DFI considers PA services to be a core element of the HSE's Disability Services Programme, the service that enables people with disabilities to pursue independent, active lives. We also are acutely aware of the vulnerability of this service to the vagaries of deficit reduction manoeuvres.

  • A key concern for DFI is the new regime’s respect for the role of the PA service, i.e., where the disabled person directs service provision according to their particular needs and wishes, as opposed to home support where the worker is supervised by an outside agency.
  • The tendering regime cannot be allowed to squeeze ‘pure’ PA service into a narrow cohort, especially when the HSE at the same time is moving people out of institutional care into the community.
  • DFI has repeatedly called for better data, both about the services being provided and the gaps where service should be available.
  • Effective regulation of service quality while responding to the differing needs of recipients of service, is another challenge that has to be addressed.
  • The competition needs to value special expertise and continuity of service.
  • The objective must demonstrably be to give people with disabilities greater control rather than to achieve savings for the HSE budget.

DFI will be taking full advantage of the consultation opportunity, and it urges others across the disability sector to do the same.
For further information, please contact

Local Government Reform

What can it mean for People with Disabilities?

In “Putting People First”, the Government is proposing significant changes in local government, key elements of which it aims to complete this year. The changes involve extensive restructuring aimed at establishing a more comprehensive local government system. The changes will affect how local services planning incorporates the disability perspective and in particular, how people with disabilities and their voluntary organisations can influence decisions.

In his introduction to the document Minister Hogan states, “I believe fervently in the need for Local Government to build strong relationships with and gain the interest of local people.” The disability sector must actively engage with the reform process to ensure that people with disabilities are fully included in the new local government system.

Key reforms

The reform will eliminate town council’s, combine Waterford and Limerick city and county councils and Tipperary councils, reducing the number of local authorities from 114 to 31, and the number of elected councillors by almost half to 950. The powers of the local authority will also change over time, for example, with water services gradually moving to a central agency and property tax setting and revenue moving to local authorities. There will be five year local authority plans, focussing on economic and on community development. The capacity of local authorities to co-ordinate across public services and functions locally is expected to grow.
The government presents the reform as energising local enterprise and employment creation as well as covering social and community development. The reform realigns some existing bodies and replaces others with new ones. To illustrate:

  • Local Development Agencies, such as Family Resource Centres, Volunteer Centres, Partnerships, are being incorporated into the local government system.
  • City/County Development Boards (CDB) and Social Inclusion Measure (SIM) groups are to be phased out after 2013, but there is no plan to eliminate the Community & Voluntary Fora
  • A ‘Socio Economic Committee’ in each local authority is to be responsible for planning and oversight of all local and community development.
    (At national level an Inter Departmental Group will promote Departments / state agencies with local development functions working more co-operatively with local government.)

Disability perspective

People with disabilities have long made it clear that they want vibrant inclusive communities, joined up services and, just like the non-disabled, to pursue work and development opportunities. A number of the admittedly limited access routes to local agencies that the disability sector has will disappear under the reform agenda; new and better connections need to be forged. In particular people with disabilities and their organisations need to find a way into the 31 Socio Economic Committees (SEC). The reform specifies membership of 15, drawn from the local authority, community interests and State Agencies. SEC will allocate local and community development funds while local development companies will continue to implement programmes. It is at this new forum where the tailoring and co-ordination of programmes to ensure access for everyone can be promoted most effectively.

DFI has been working with disability and other local groups to strengthen engagement with the range of local agencies, and in many areas productive relationships have been developed to complement links with local councillors. This provides a solid basis for ‘disability-proofing’ the reforms. But there is a degree of urgency since the Government seeks to pass legislation implementing the changes before the local elections, to take place in 2014.

For further information contact DFI Support Officer .


Consultation on Implementation of Charities Act Announced by Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform

The Department of Justice and Equality published their consultation document on the implementation of the Charities Act.

The consultation focuses on three key areas:

  1. The setting up of a Charities Regulatory Authority and what the key priorities should be in the first phase given the budgetary constraints.
  2. The establishment of a Register of Charities including how this is likely to be used and what additional information might be included.
    Charities will be required to pay an annual registration fee and this section seeks views on a proposed fee structure based on gross annual income categorised into five bands with fees ranging from a token fee in band 1 (e.g. €10) to a max. €500 in band 5.
  3. Financial and Activity Reporting by Registered Charities to the Charities Regulatory Authority.
    This section sets out the financial reporting requirements under the Charities Act for different types and sizes of charities. Views are sought on the proposed thresholds for different levels of reporting and independent scrutiny and also on what additional financial information should be required from charities by the Authority and in what format.
    Incorporated charities will continue to make their annual returns with annual accounts to the Companies Registration Office (CRO) which will pass them on to the Charity Regulatory Authority (CRA) except where a charity is not required by the CRO to attach annual accounts in which case they will be required to attach them to the Annual Activity Report to the CRA
    All charities are required to submit an annual Activity Report to the CRA and views are sought on the format and content of this report.

There will be an 8 week consultation period with a closing date of 20 th March for submissions. The consultation document is available at and those responding are encouraged to make their submissions online. Submissions will be made public and after the consultation has closed, it is envisaged that a summary and response will be compiled and published by the Department.

It is important that as many organisations as possible submit their own submissions and contact us with their views. We would also encourage you to attend the event mentioned overleaf. If anyone has any questions please contact Joan O’Donnell at

Joint Consultation on Implementation of the Charities Act 2009

This information session is organised by: Boardmatch Ireland | Business to Arts | Carmichael Centre for Voluntary Groups | CORI| DFI| Dochas | ICTR | RCB | The Wheel | Volunteer Ireland

Information Session Proudly Supported by: Chartered Accountants Ireland

Please be advised that it is being held on 19 February, 11-1pm at Chartered Accountants Ireland, Pearce Street, Dublin 2.

The event is designed to provide you with an opportunity to re-familiarise yourself with the Charities Act 2009. It will also provide you with an opportunity to learn more about the Government's proposals in relation to how the act will be implemented, and about how you can make a submission to the consultation and make your voice heard.

To register for this event, please log on to: .



Welcome and Introductions

Chartered Accountants Ireland


Outline of the session

Jane Ryder

Former Chief Executive of the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator


Briefing on the Consultation Document and the process to be followed

Úna Ní Dhubhghaill

Head of the Charities Unit in the Dept. Justice and Equality


Questions re clarification on the briefing/consultation process

Úna Ní Dhubhghaill


Brief Response from each member of the Panel

Tom Courtney Arthur Cox

Teresa Harrington PWC

Sheila Nordon ICTR

Conor Woods RBK Accountants


Questions and Answers

Panel Members and Úna Ní Dhubhghaill


Making a Submission

Jane Ryder


Closing Remarks

Chartered Accountants Ireland

The event will be recorded and available to download should you or a member of your organisation be unable to attend on the day. For more details on the consultation, visit the Department of Justice and Equality website:

HR & Employment Law Update

Adare Human Resource Management provide HR and Employment Law Support Services to a large number of Organisations within the Community and Voluntary Sector.

Our HR and Employment Law Support Services include

  • Contracts of Employment & Employee Handbooks containing policies & procedures - drafting / review / update
  • HR Helpdesk – provision of on-going access to Phone / Email HR Advice and Support
  • Representation at Workplace Relations Commission, Rights Commissioners, Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) and other external employment bodies
  • HR Consultancy Services – Recruitment / Investigations / Dispute Management

Adare Human Resource Management support Organisations through minimising the risk of exposure to legal challenges by ensuring legal compliance for Organisations in their practices as well as policies and procedures. The 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.

Planning Annual Leave

The beginning of the year is a good time to start planning Annual Leave in your Organisation. All Employees of an Organisation are entitled to avail of Annual Leave, specific details of which should be provided in the statement of terms and conditions of employment (contract).The planning, booking and taking of Annual Leave is the responsibility of not only the Employee, but also the Employer. It is important that the Employer ensures each individual Employee is availing of adequate rest and recreation periods, whilst also ensuring continuity of operations within the Organisation.

There is a responsibility on the Employee to also consider the options for rest which are available to them and ensure that they use their Annual Leave within the year in which it is accrued. Employees may apply to take their Annual Leave entitlement in any form which they feel is appropriate to their personal needs; however discretion does lie with Management in the approval of all requests. Many Organisations approve Annual Leave requests based on a “first come first served” basis so it is advisable that Employees apply at the earliest possible opportunity. Some Organisations have policies in place where Annual Leave has to be taken at certain times of the year, for example at Easter, Summer or Christmas. Employees should be cognisant of these when applying for leave.

The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 sets out entitlements to Annual leave. These entitlements are based on actual hours worked by an Employee. Annual Leave entitlements are calculated as follows:

  • 4 working weeks in a leave year in which he or she works at least 1,365 hours (unless it is a leave year in which he or she changes employment),
  • one-third of a working week for each month in the leave year in which he or she works at least 117 hours
  • 8 per cent of the hours he or she works in a leave year (but subject to a maximum of 4 working weeks)

Organisations may apply or introduce more favourable provisions in relation to Annual Leave than those set out in the Organisation of Working Time Act. The purpose of Annual Leave is to provide rest and recreation to for Employees away from work so that they can reconcile their home and work lives. Due to this need for reconciliation it is important that Annual Leave is taken in the year which it is accrued. It is also important to note that Annual leave should not be taken in one block; it would be advisable to spread it out throughout the leave year in order for the Employee to benefit from rest periods throughout the year.

When considering any Annual Leave requests Employers should have regard for the Employee’s need to reconcile work and any family responsibilities, and also the opportunities accessible to the Employee for rest and recreation.

If you have any questions relating to Annual Leave do not hesitate to contact us.

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

Staying Positive Amid the Gloom

by Maeve Halpin, Social and Organisational Psychologist .

Maeve Halpin 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. In conjunction with Maeve, DFI have launched an External Supervision and Support Service for staff and Boards of DFI member groups

Rates of anxiety and depression have increased since 2008, particularly among men, leading to the term “recession depression”. Public services are in decline, the economic outlook is bleak and global crises such as climate change and unsustainable population growth dominate news headlines. How do we maintain our optimism and a belief in our ability to influence the world, qualities that are essential to good mental health? It is important to remember that the media has a bias toward negative news. Bad news sells, so we have to look elsewhere for the positive stories that renew our faith in the world and in humanity's extraordinary capacity to respond creatively to overwhelmingly situations. Several “positive news” websites collate and share information on inspirational stories that motivate and encourage in times of seemingly unrelenting gloom. From tiny grassroots organisations to transnational, intergovernmental initiatives, many are finding ways to both reclaim personal autonomy and influence the far-reaching decisions of policy makers.

Rethinking Priorities

In July 2011, the UN adopted a ‘happiness resolution’, stating that gross domestic product (GDP) alone is not an adequate measure of human prosperity and that “a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach is needed to promote sustainability, eradicate poverty, and enhance wellbeing.” Wellbeing is now intended to be at the heart of new sustainable development goals, re-defining the concept of “progress”. Wellbeing includes economic, social, cultural, environmental and spiritual factors, and demands a balance between individual and collective interests. David Cameron, launching the UK's National Wellbeing Project to measure overall quality of life, acknowledged that GDP has risen steadily in Western societies for decades while levels of contentment have remained static or fallen. Factors that promote wellbeing include investing in renewable energy, public transport and green spaces; introducing work sharing schemes that increase leisure time and prevent unemployment; and discouraging materialism by banning advertising to children. Take the survey for Ireland at

Tackling Climate Change

In contrast to the US recognising corporations as people in law, Bolivia has enacted the “Law of Mother Earth” which recognises the rights of all living things, giving the natural world equal status to human beings. Endowing nature itself with comprehensive legal rights aims to halt climate change and the exploitation of the natural world, and to improve quality of life for the Bolivian people. The Bolivian government will be legally bound to prioritise the wellbeing of its citizens and the environment by developing policies that promote sustainability and control industry. Likewise, Ecuador has implemented a National Plan for Good Living, including objectives such as to affirm and strengthen national identity, diverse identities, pluri-nationalism and interculturalism; to improve the citizens' capacities and potentialities; and to guarantee the rights of nature and promote a healthy and sustainable environment. The Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice in Dublin ensures that Irish voices are included in efforts to address global environmental issues. These examples of far-sighted leadership, generating alternative-development models, helps to counteract the short-term, profit-driven objectives of unaccountable multi-national corporations.

Moving beyond the Banking Industry

Civilised Money is an online form of money management that uses people-to-people networks to create an ethical, transparent alternative to the existing financial services industry. It allows customers to lend, borrow, invest and receive investment. Finance is owned and managed by the people who invest. Positive Money is a not-for-profit research and campaign group promoting a debt-free financial system. These initiatives are the genesis of a revolution in how we think about finance, taking back power from the international banks and hedge funds that continue to profit both in times of growth and recession.

Extreme situations have inspired many groups and individuals to devise progressive solutions to seemingly intractable problems. Radical and innovative thinking in response to local and global issues is in plentiful supply, but you may have to search beyond the mainstream media to find it. See www. for more.

More information is available at


Disability Federation of Ireland joins the European Disability Forum

Disability Federation of Ireland is pleased to announce their success in becoming a member of the European Disability Forum (EDF). The EDF is an independent NGO that represents the interests of 80 million Europeans with disabilities. The work of EDF covers all fields of European Union competence and a great number of initiatives. Although the European institutions might seem far removed for many citizens, the decisions taken by the European Union, which are the result of negotiations between all Member States, have a direct impact on disabled people’s lives. That is why, the role of EDF is so important in monitoring all EU initiatives and in proposing new legislation to advance disabled people’s rights. European policy and legislation has an impact on all Member States, including Ireland. By joining EDF, DFI will tap into the many campaigns to promote a human rights based approach to disability in an Irish context. On-going briefings of the work DFI is doing through our membership of EDF will be provided in the DFI newsletter.

European Disability Forum to Host Board Meeting in Ireland

It is customary for EDF to host their Board meeting in the country holding the European Presidency and they are therefore working with DFI as their Partner Organisation to support them with this event taking place on the 24 th and 25th February 2013. Over 70 disability delegates will arrive in Ireland from across Europe to attend the Board meeting which also incorporates a joint EDF / NDA seminar on the Accessibility of Public Websites. In addition, a key priority for EDF will be to push for the ratification of the UNCRPD in Ireland which has yet to take place. A full report of the seminar and board meeting will be provided in the next newsletter. In the meantime please contact Louise McCann at if you would like a copy of the EDF Disability Priorities for the Irish Presidency of the EU document.

Report from Mr. Don Bailey on his recent participation at the 3rd European Parliament for Persons with Disabilities December 2012

DFI was pleased to be able to fund (along with a contribution from the MEP Emer Costello) Mr. Don Bailey to attend the 3 rd European Parliament for Persons with Disabilities that took place in December 2012 in Brussels. The following report was submitted by Don.
In early December 2012, the Parliament was convened by the European Disability Forum (EDF) in Brussels to consider the motion below which was later passed by unanimous resolution

We call on the EU institutions and consultative bodies within their powers and competences, the EU Member States, the social partners, civil society, NGO's, Disabled Persons’ Organisations (DPOs) and other stakeholders, to take appropriate steps to ensure the full implementation of the rights of persons with disabilities in Europe and in all international organisations in which the EU institutions and its members are present.

The primary purpose of this Parliament was to facilitate the EU's first periodic report, as a signatory, in 2013 on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) that will be examined by the UN Committee on the CRPD. In preparation, the EU are mandated to take into consideration the views of DPO's and other civil society organisations and will issue concluding observations (including principal areas of concern and recommendations). The second and equally important purpose was to highlight the CRPD and to emphasise its provisions as a benchmark in interpreting current and future legislation in this area.

The Parliament consisted of over 450 delegates from DPO's, representing the 80 million persons with disabilities living in Europe along with representatives from the main bodies of the European Union. In addition, Mr Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, Mr Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council and Mr Nikoforos Diamandouros, European Ombudsman addressed the meeting in support of the Parliament and stating the importance of EDF's voice in consideration of the EU's report to the UN. There was a large number of MEPs present (representing all parties) on the floor of the Parliament including a large representation from the European Parliament Disability Intergroup.

The motion was debated in the form of three separate plenary sessions, with each speaker having two minutes. The speakers were equally divided between disability delegates and EU representatives. The three plenary sessions were

  • The UN Convention on the Rights of persons with Disabilities & its implementation in the context of the economic crisis
  • Strategies for a way out of the crisis
  • Free movement and citizenship of persons with disabilities – tackling the barriers

The interventions by the DPO's were largely made by persons with a disability, the majority drawing very strong vocal personal pictures that certainly left us in no doubt about the current levels of poor services available in all countries and the improvement a fully implemented Convention at the national level may make. My own contribution to the first session is recorded below.

In conclusion I feel it was an extremely useful and worthwhile event with many of the political stakeholders listening and putting their commitments on record. But I think the outcome will be better served if such an event in the future is also measured by an objective matrix to better ascertain the current level of implementation and the added progress achieved at any future date.

“I wish to clearly confirm that all measures before us today are being undermined every day in Ireland during this economic crisis. Many of our required essential supports have an element of state support. Most of our required essential supports are not underpinned by legislation and are only offered to us in the form of a grant, privilege or provision of social welfare by the state under the Social Protection or Health budgets. This absence of legislative underpinning gives us no recourse in law. It is for this very reason, that our support budgets are the very first to be cut and often by a disproportional amount of the total national budget. These cuts affect every aspect of our daily living from cradle to grave.

We must now insist that the Irish Government ratify our supports by national legislation. It would be even better if our government ratified this convention as soon as possible. But to do so, the Irish Government must also legislate to give legal capacity to all our citizens. Therefore I ask this parliament to use their influence with the Irish Government to speed up the implementation of the required legislation and ratifications as soon as possible.”


New Health Research Board Study Finds Assistive Technology Improves Quality of Life for People with Disability

The Health Research Board (HRB) has reported that new evidence shows that if people have the assistive technology (AT) that they need, they experience a better quality of life and are less restricted by their disability. Equally, people who do not have access to the AT that they need indicate that it negatively impacts their quality of life and social participation.

The evidence was gathered using World Health Organisation (WHO) based measures from 10,552 Irish people, as part of on-going data collection for the HRB National Physical and Sensory Disability Database (NPSDD). The data is analysed and published in Activity, Participation and Assistive Technology, Issue 6, in the Measure of Activity and Participation (MAP) Bulletin series from the HRB.

The analysis looks at the types of assistive technology used and required by people with a physical and/or sensory disability in Ireland. Among the report’s findings were:

  • The AT used and required by people with a physical and/or sensory disability is diverse, ranging from items such as magnifying lenses and standing frames to powered wheelchairs and computer-based communication aids. AT requirements are specific to an individual’s condition and level of functioning.
  • Although the types of assistive technology used and required differ across the disability types, many of the barriers and areas of restriction were similar.
  • Access to information (e.g. about entitlements, services, or nature of the condition) was a major barrier to participation and was significant for all five disability types.
  • 28% required additional assistive technology and 4% have no assistive technology.

The report is available in the publications section of the HRB website


Need Appropriate Housing? Get Counted!

In the next few months Government, through local authorities, is once again counting the number of people / households who are on the waiting list for social housing. This count is used by officials planning housing investment and affects the attention they pay to the housing needs of people who have disabilities, and therefore, the housing choices, or lack of, that people face. In 2011 the number counted with disabilities was 1,315 out of a total of 98,318.

The IWA's “Operation Sign-up” simplifies the process of registering need for social housing. The special website, www.iwa/housing , is being up-dated, and will be available to all by the end of January.

People can use this aid and other means of voicing the importance of supporting everyone to have access to appropriate housing and the chance to live ordinary lives. That voice includes insisting that local authorities apply ‘disability friendly’ processes.

DFI urges individuals and their voluntary organisations, especially in the coming months, to support those who seek social housing and to report to the local authority (and DFI) experience with the authorities that either denies or strengthens people’s right to an appropriate home.

For further information, please contact

DFI's Housing Reference Group

A first meeting took place at DFI in January with a number of individuals and workers in voluntary organisations interested in supporting progress in achieving appropriate housing for people with disabilities. One objective of this group is to inform DFI's nominated representatives on government housing policy implementation committees about barriers to progress and experience at ground level. Members learn from the representatives about government plans and feedback their reactions. Those who cannot attend meetings are kept abreast by email.

Anyone wishing to join the group should contact


CES / DFI “How to Choose an Outcomes Monitoring Database”

The CES / DFI courses below run consecutively over three days: on Tuesday the 5th March 2013 is the “How to Choose an Outcomes Monitoring Database” course followed on Wednesday and Thursday the 6th and 7th March 2013 by the two-day course on “How to Collect, Analyse, Present and Use Data”.

The courses are delivered by consultant trainers from the Charities Evaluation Services (CES) UK and the training is delivered at the DFI Head Office, Fumbally Court, Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8, located within a couple of hundred metres of St Patrick’s Cathedral.

The cost of the one-day course is €140.00 and the two-day course is €275.00. A special discounted rate of €355.00 is available where an organisation books a place on both courses, a saving of €60.00. An organisation availing of the discounted offer may send a different participant to each of the courses. As places are limited early booking is advised.
One- day course - Tuesday 5th March 2013 – 10am to 4pm Location DFI Head Office, Fumbally Court, Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8

Course summary

This one-day course will provide participants with a head-start in making the most of databases to support their monitoring and evaluation, particularly around Outcomes. How do you decide whether or not you need a Database? How do you choose one? How much should you spend, and how do you prepare your organisation for this kind of change? This course will address all of these questions in detail, as well as exploring what to do to make the best of the information you may already have in your monitoring database, and how to make the best use of complementary online tools for data collection.

The course will be highly practical and will centre on the use of real-life, up-to-date case studies. Participants will also have the opportunity to look at demo versions of databases in the breaks and after the training.

The course will be based on CES market research into monitoring databases as well as recent interviews with voluntary sector organisations with ‘happy’ databases.

Is this course for you?

You will benefit most from this course if:

  1. you are already collecting and using information on your Outputs and Outcomes and wish to improve the ways in which you manage and report using this information
  2. you have a clear idea of your monitoring needs, perhaps including a formal Monitoring Framework
  3. you wish to review or improve your information management, OR you are thinking about buying or developing a new Database
  4. you are able to take decisions on your organisation’s investment in and use of technology in this area

Course outcomes

By the end of the one-day course, participants will have a greater understanding of:

  • the advantages and disadvantages of using technology to support monitoring and evaluation
  • the different database options available
  • how to choose, implement and get the most from an Outcomes Monitoring Database
  • the aspects of organisational IT that need to be in place to support different tools

To register or for further information contact Dermot O’Donnell

On 086-780-8639 Fee €140.00

How to Collect, Analyse, Present and use Data

Two-day training course for Community & Voluntary Organisations

Wed & Thurs 6th & 7th March 2013 10am to 4pm

Course Summary

This two day course will guide you through the next steps to take once you are clear about the monitoring and evaluation information that you need to collect. You will explore different ways to collect information and have the opportunity to carry out basic analysis of data. A range of options for communicating your information effectively will also be looked at.

Course outcomes

By the end of this course participants will have:

  • better understanding of the basic differences between qualitative and quantitative approaches to research and evaluation
  • clearer understanding about what information needs to be collected, and how to collect it
  • more knowledge about the pros and cons of using interviews, focus groups and questionnaires
  • increased knowledge of participatory, creative and visual information collection techniques
  • knowledge to be able to undertake simple analysis of quantitative and qualitative data including producing descriptive statistics (e.g., frequencies and averages) and carrying out thematic content analysis
  • clearer understanding about what information to present, when, to whom and how
  • increased understanding of how to make effective recommendations
  • understanding of how to structure and present an evaluation report
  • explored ways to get your evaluation findings used both internally and externally

Is this course for you?

If you are ready to collect monitoring information for your project but are not sure what tools to use, how to analyse the information and how to turn it into an appealing and useful evaluation, this course is for you!

CES Training

This course is delivered by Consultant Trainers from the Charities Evaluation Services in the UK the inventors of PQASSO. DFI is the only location in Ireland where CES deliver this training.


Places are limited so early booking is advisable.

If you would like to register for this course, please email Eleanor Reece on or and if you would like more information on the course or on PQASSO, please contact Dermot O’Donnell, Support Officer for Organisations and Licensed PQASSO Mentor on 086-7808639 or by email on

Registration Fee and Terms and conditions

Fee for the 2 days Training course is €275 per place.
Tea, coffee, scones, and lunch is provided within the fee.
All places will be confirmed in writing.
Bookings cancelled within 5 working days of the training taking place will incur a 50% cancellation fee.
Cancellations must be made in writing and cancellation charges will apply whether or not payment has been received.
Please note that non-arrival at a course, with or without notice, counts as a cancellation.
Bookings may be transferred to another course date.
Please note that DFI reserves the right to cancel any course and in such cases, a full refund of course fees will be made.

Location for training: DFI Head Office, Fumbally Lane, Fumbally Court, Dublin 8

For further information contact Dermot O’Donnell on 086-780 8639

LLM - International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy

Course Overview

The introduction of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has resulted in significant changes in the area of Disability Law and Policy. The LLM in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy addresses that and graduates from this programme will be the first to emerge skilled in this growing area of law and policy.

The mandatory modules address two issues, firstly, to provide students with an in-depth understanding of the core foundational themes in disability law and policy, secondly, to provide students with the necessary research skills to complete their programme of study. The optional modules address law and policy at internaitonal and regional level as well as some very topical subjects such as Legal Capacity, Independent Living, and Inclusive Education.

Key facts

Entry requirements

Applicants must hold a Second Class Honours Grade 1 degree in law. In exceptional circumstances, applicants holding a degree in another discipline or a degree of less than a Second Class Honours Grade 1 standard may be considered where they have
relevant professional experience in law or Disability Rights.

Course outline

Students are required to take two mandatory subjects: Foundational ­Theoretical Framework for Disability Law and Policy and
Law, Regulation and Policy.
Ther­eafter students may choose four optional modules from the following: US Disability Law and Policy; Irish Disability Law and Policy; Regional Disability Law and Policy; Law and Policy on Independent Living; Legal Capacity Law and Policy; Mental Health Law and Policy; Inclusive Education Law and Policy; Advocacy and Access to Justice; Contemporary Challenges in Disability Law and Policy; and Lifecourse Issues in Disability Law and Policy. Finally, over the summer months students will complete a Dissertation on a subject of their choosing.
This course load will be spread over two years for those opting for the part-time mode.
Th­e benefit of studying this Masters lies in its uniqueness. Students will benefit from unprecedented access to international experts who participate in the programme throughout the year.
Th­e programme is affiliated with the Centre for Disability Law and Policy (CDLP), which is a research centre of excellence at the School of Law, NUI Galway. The CDLP is dedicated to producing research that informs the debate on national and international disability law reform and policy. ­The formation of the centre coincided with one of the most intensive periods of disability law reform in Ireland as well as internationally. For more information visit

Applications and selections

Applications are made online via The Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC). Relevant PAC application code(s) above.

Who teaches this course?

Academic staff from the School of Law, NUI Galway as well as international academics: including Prof. Gerard Quinn, Dr. Laurent Pech, Dr. Mary Keys, Ms. Shivaun Quinlivan.

Requirements and assessment

A range of assessment methods are utilised including essays, projects, reports, presentations and case studies. A dissertation must also be submitted in August.

Summer School on Disability Policy and Law

The Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway’s Summer School takes place 17-21 June, 2013. John Dolan participated last year and strongly recommends it as an opportunity to learn, to share experience and insights about policies and laws affecting people with disabilities.

This year the summer school will focus on the UN Convention, but with a development and international co-operation focus, as well as how to achieve policy change using the Convention at grassroots level. Marca Bristow (a high profile US disability advocate) and Eve Hill (assistant US Attorney General) will be among the speakers. The preliminary programme will be available shortly on the website

Carmichael Centre Spring courses 2013:

19 Feb: Public Speaking & Presentation Skills (One day)

12 March: Implementing the Governance Code: Type A organisations (Half day)

9 Apr: Effective Meetings & Minutes (One day)

14 May: Implementing the Governance Code: Type B organisations (Half day)

28 May: Committee Skills (Half day)

We are also delighted to offer the following FREE seminars in Spring / Summer 2013:

28 Feb: Digital Marketing [Speaker: Robert Farrell]

March TBA: Implications of the new Companies Bill for charities

4 April: Employment Law Update

23 May: The Role of the Company Secretary

Watch out also for seminars on Data Protection and Managing Change in June.

For further details and booking on any of these courses and seminars, see: or contact the Training and Support Team for more information, E:

Tel: 01 8735702.

Applications Invited For €500,000 Awards Programme

Social Entrepreneurs Ireland is now open for applications for this year’s Awards Programme, with a total cash fund of €500,000 to support individuals with new solutions for social challenges in Ireland.

The Awards Programme will see eight social entrepreneurs selected to partake in one of our two support programmes: the Impact Programme and the Elevator Programme. Three social entrepreneurs will be selected for the Impact Programme and will each receive direct funding of €130,000 over two years, as well as over €70,000 worth of training, mentoring and support.

Five social entrepreneurs will be selected for the Elevator Programme and will each receive direct funding of €22,000 over one year, as well as over €10,000 worth of training, mentoring and support.

The deadline for applications is Monday 18th February . Full details of the application process, eligibility criteria and an overview of the Awards Programme can be found online at .

Social Welfare Allowance Information now Available on YouTube

Inclusion Ireland has created a series of short films that provide people with an intellectual disability and their families with practical information in an accessible format.

The short films are a step by step guide and cover six allowances and the appeals process.
The films focus on:

Carers Allowance

Half-rate Carer’s Allowance

Domiciliary Care Allowance

Respite Care Grant

Disability Allowance

Medical Card

Social Welfare Appeals or

This project was co-funded by the European Union's PROGRESS Programme (2007–2013).

Meitheal Spring Training January – March 2013

Meitheal is a community development support and training organisation.
Their mission is to create radical change through working for equality and social justice.
Meitheal provides training to the community and voluntary sector, and other organisations working to create social change.
There are 12 places on each of there spring training courses and applications received go through to a selection process.
Priority will be given to those applicants from their target groups.
For more information contact Meitheal at or

Government Announces Communicating Europe Initiative 2013

Focus on Ireland’s 40 th anniversary in the EU and the European Year of Citizens 2013

TUESDAY 29 JANUARY - Applications are now being invited for funding under the Department of the Taoiseach’s Communicating European Initiative (CES) from voluntary organisations, educational bodies, and civil society groups. Proposals are being sought for projects aimed at deepening public awareness of the role that the European Union plays in our daily lives.

2013 is a significant year for Ireland and its role in the European Union. Not only do we hold the Presidency of the EU– we’ll be running the agenda from January until June – Ireland is also celebrating the 40 th anniversary of its accession to the Union. All this in the year that the European Commission has designated as European Year of Citizens

The Irish Presidency sees 2013 as a real opportunity for people across Ireland to focus on what four decades of membership has brought us; the rights that European citizenship has given us and to reflect on how we see our future in Europe.

For that reason, the 2013 awards for funding under the CEI will be made to projects which encourage citizens to actively engage and participate in the debate on their future in Europe. In awarding funds in 2013, priority will be given to proposals for:

  • events which promote public conversations and debate – at local or national level
  • cultural and media projects that explain Ireland in Europe and Europe in Ireland- at local or national level
  • projects or events designed to celebrate the European Year of Citizens
  • events that celebrate Europe Day on Thursday 9 May.

The closing date for funding applications will be Friday 15 February 2013. Successful applicants will be notified in early March. Further details and an application form are now available on the websites of the EU Presidency ( ) and on the Department of the Taoiseach ( ).


For information please contact the relevant organisation directly.

Support Officers

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

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
Tel: 01 708 0108 Fax: 01 494 7981

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

Joan O’Connor
Policy and Research Assistant,
Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8
Tel: 01-4250121

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

Dublin North-East
Joan O’Donnell
Meath, Louth, Cavan, Monaghan
01 4250122

Martin Naughton
Dublin North Central, Dublin North, Dublin West
Mobile: 086 8207196

Michael Corbett,
Galway, Mayo, Roscommon
C/O DFI, 8 Acres Grove, Newport, Co. Mayo,
Tel: 098 41919,
Mobile: 086 3804750,
Fax: 098 41065,

Jennifer Van Aswegen
Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal
Disability Federation of Ireland
Model Niland, The Mall, Sligo
Co Sligo
Mob: 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

About DFI

The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) represents the interests and the expectations of people with disabilities to be fully included in Irish society. It comprises organisations that represent and support people with disabilities and disabling conditions.

The vision of DFI is that Irish society is fully inclusive of people with disabilities and disabling conditions so that they can exercise their full civil, economic, social and human rights and that they are enabled to reach their full potential in life. DFI’s mission is to act as an advocate for the full and equal inclusion of people with disabilities and disabling conditions in all aspects of their lives.

There are over 130 organisations within membership, or as associates, of DFI. DFI also works with a growing number of organisations and groups around the country that have a significant disability interest, mainly from the statutory and voluntary sectors. DFI provides:

  • Information
  • Training and Support
  • Networking
  • Advocacy and Representation
  • Research and Policy Development / Implementation
  • Organisation and Management Development

DFI works on the basis that disability is a societal issue and so works with Government, and across the social and economic strands and interests of society.

For further information go to
Disability Federation of Ireland, Fumbally Court, Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8
Tel: 01-4547978
Fax: 01-4547981

Union of Voluntary Organisations of People with Disabilities trading as The Disability Federation of Ireland is a company limited by guarantee not having share capital, registered in Dublin. Registered No. 140948, CHY No 6177