Long-awaited funding announcement for disability services welcome

28 September 2020

Ivana Bacik

Today, Labour Seanad Group Leader and spokesperson for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration Senator Ivana Bacik has welcomed the announcement of an additional €10 million in funding for disability services by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly TD and Minister of State for Disability Anne Rabbitte TD.

Senator Bacik said:

“I welcome today’s announcement that €10 million is being drawn down from the National Action Plan on Covid-19 to fund provision of day services for adults with disabilities and support packages for children and young people with complex or high support needs. This intervention comes not a moment too soon. I have joined with disability activists and advocacy groups for a number of months now in calling for urgent funding for the sector.

“Many day services have been functioning at only 40% of capacity since reopening after their sudden closure in March due to Covid-19. This has left many people and their families struggling to cope. It is with this in mind, that I welcome the news that funding will facilitate the provision of an extra day per week of day services for more than 14,000 adults.

“I do not understand why it has taken this long for the Government to act, however. Pre-existing funding deficiencies have been exacerbated by the devastating effects of the coronavirus. The sudden loss of fundraising income due to the pandemic also means that many organisations that had been performing vital care roles on behalf of the State are no longer in a position to do so. The impact of this is far-reaching. Many people who relied on public transport or specialist shuttle-busses to get around before the pandemic have had their mobility significantly reduced, for example. This cohort will be increasingly affected throughout the winter months and yet last week’s Winter Plan did little for them. Similarly, the provision of extra supports such as personal assistant services have been notably absent from both this announcement and other Government-backed plans.

“The last six months have been particularly difficult for people living with a disability who have had their access to essential services reduced. The coming winter months will bring great challenges too. I am glad to see this initiative from Government today, and I hope that it will be only the first of many announcements which will provide a range of measures to support people with disabilities across the State through the winter period and beyond. Certainly, this €10 million announcement is a very welcome step in the right direction and will be a great relief for many people in Ireland today."