Disability Federation of Ireland baffled that the Budget is not meeting its minimum investment of €350m in disability services

October 13th, 2021

The Government has estimated €350-€600 million would be needed from Budget 2022 to address unmet need in disability services[1]. Today’s Budget shows they are ignoring their own advice, which is baffling to the Disability Federation of Ireland, DFI.

“As it stands, disability services funding is only slightly increased beyond last year’s Budget level. The Government’s own minimum investment need for 2020 is about three times higher at €350m, this is disappointing and worrying”, stated John Dolan, DFI.

“It’s clear to us that disability need is not being met in Budget 2022”, said John Dolan. “The outstanding needs are real and ignoring them will not make them go away. Instead, costs will grow, and human suffering will intensify.”

John Dolan went on to say that “the next two Budgets need to demonstrate that disability is a priority area, while the 643,000 disabled people, their families and the organisations providing services, try to hold out.”

He went on to say, “there has also been a failure to address the high poverty levels that people with disabilities and their families live with. This Budget has not addressed the additional costs of disability that people live with- estimated at €207 a week. The discrepancy between the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and Disability Allowance is stark.”

“The failure to strongly address underfunding and the deepening crisis is all the more baffling to DFI because such good groundwork has been done this year, including the publication of the Capacity Review.

The facts are clear:

  • Government stated that €350 – 600 million is needed in 2022 for disability services.
  • Ireland has the lowest employment rate for disabled people in the EU.
  • 5% of those not working due to disability are at risk of poverty.
  • 43% live in deprivation.”

John concluded that “we welcome measures such as improving the pilot scheme to support young people with disabilities to move out of nursing homes, housing adaptation grants, investment in therapists, support for Children’s Network Teams, increases in the Disability Allowance and carer’s income disregards. These will take some pressure off people.

[1] Department of Health (2021). Disability Capacity Review to 2032: A Review of Social Care Demand and Capacity Requirements to 2032

Editor’s Note

Disability Capacity Review: The Disability Capacity Review to 2032, published by the Department of Health in July 2021 quantifies and costs future need for disability services. It examines both demographics and unmet need. It estimated that a further €550m to €1000m investment in disability services by 2032 is required. It stated that €350 – €600m would be needed in Budget 2022 to address unmet need and demographic change.

Indecon Cost of Disability Report: Indecon International Consultants were commissioned by the Department of Social Protection to carry out research into the cost of disability in Ireland in 2019. Their report was received by the Department in June 2021. They are considering it. Despite calls from disability organisations for the report to inform Budget 2022, it has not yet been published and there is currently no timeline for its publication.

The Programme for Government – Our Shared Future, published in October 2020 included a section on disability, as well as disability commitments in other sections. It stated that:

“Ever since Ireland ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, we have signalled to those with a disability that we are now serious about making a difference – a difference that will make things better.”

“The ratification raised awareness of the lived experience of people with disabilities, but we have much more to do.”

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