DFI working with the HSE in response to the Ukraine crisis

April 1 2022


DFI is representing our members on the recently formed Disability Umbrella Organisations and HSE National Operations Disability Workstream Rapid Response Group (for people with disabilites arriving to Ireland from Ukraine) also known as the HSE Rapid Response Disabilities Group. This group will be meeting on a weekly basis and will provide a space for the HSE to update us on the work of the National HSE Health and Support Needs Planning and Coordination Group - Ukraine Response. 

Meeting Update

At the latest meeting which took place yesterday, DFI emphasised a number of points on behalf of members: 


  • Ensure that all voluntary disability organisations have a route of engagement with the HSE regionally to best support and coordinate on local responses and disability specific responses to need.
  • We noted the previous valued experience of members in the COVID-19 response as delivered through HSE CHO Disability Services and equally the Community Call of the Local Authorities as relevant structures of support for such coordination.
  • We further emphasised the direct and non direct services and supports provided by DFI members, reflecting a diversity of disability specific disabling conditions. 
  • We also acknowledged and repeated the reality of service deficit and resource constraints faced by DFI member organisations and your members. 


What DFI member organisations can continue to do now: 

  • The HSE made a direct request to organisations, that people coming from the Ukraine supported by voluntary disability organisations be identified as an immediate prioirty to International Protection Accommodation Services, IPAS. See further information on IPAS here.
  • To allow for greatest coordination and streamlining of efforts, and to ensure the HSE is fully aware of your services, and any capacity issues you may be having in responding to this crisis, we would ask for our member to inform us of all your activies of support, you knowledge of situations of concern and need, to DFI for feeding into the HSE Rapid Response Disabilities Group.


At the meeting we emphasised again the fact that a great number of people may not define themselves as having a disability upon entry to Ireland. We recognised that already in Ireland today 90% of people with disabilities live in the mainstream, supported by voluntary disability organisations and wider health and social care. There may well be rolling and late identified support needs identified over the coming months for those who arrive in Ireland. 

DFI represents the work of you, our member organisations who have already responded so powerfully to the crisis, and we will update you on a weekly basis. We call for your organisation to contact us and ensure your work is recognised and that the wisdom of your disability specific expertise and capacity of support is identified to the HSE. 

Please contact Cathy on cathymcgrath@disability-federation.ie for further information.