October 11, 2023
Budget 2024 fails disabled people – Pauline Tully TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Disability and Carers Deputy Pauline Tully, speaking in reaction to the announcements in Budget 2024, stated that it has failed disabled people.

The Cavan-Monaghan TD said:

“Disability services and disabled people were overlooked in this budget. 

“There are few measures contained within it that will make a significant difference to disabled people or family carers.

“This budget has failed disabled people.

“For instance, the Disability Capacity Review tells us thatDisability Services need at least €80-to-90 million in additional resources every year, yet according the Government’s are only providing €64.1million – €55.6 for the Disability Action Plan and €8.5 for the Disability Roadmap.

“The Sinn Féin Alternative Budget committed to allocating over €80million in resource funding.

“The Minster announced that there would be capital funding of €23.7million to provide for the upgrade and development of disability services. However, there are no specifics as to what this will be allocated towards. 

“Will it include funding towards decongregation? I hope so, as in 2022 only 35 people were transitioned from congregated setting into supported or community living, and in 2023 there was no further funding made available for decongregation.  

“This makes pronouncements by the government about moving away from a medical-charity model of disability to a rights-based disability model sound very hollow indeed.

“The Sinn Féin Alternative Budget committed to allocating almost €75million in capital funding, to increase the availability of appropriate residential care places and progress decongregation.

“In terms of the additional cost of disability, there was nothing in this budget that came close to assisting with this.

“For instance, once off payments to carers and disabled people, while welcome, are temporary. They will not resolve the issue of the additional cost of disability. These additional cost are not once-off costs..

“Disability Allowance and related payments are getting a €12 increase, but Sinn Féin had advocated a €20 increase.

“It is also regretful that the carers support grant was not increased as Sinn Féin advocated to bring this up to €2,000.

“The measures we committed to in our alternative budget represent what Sinn Féin would prioritise in government.

“The measures for disability and carers aim to empower disabled people and ensure their right to independent living and access to specialist disability services.

“In terms of delivering on the recommendations of the Disability Capacity Review, we put forward measures totalling €155million to progress decongregation, provide additional respite, deliver further day service places, supply more intensive home support packages, fund further personal assistance hours and provide a training and development fund for Disabled Person’s Organisation (DPO’s).

“We proposed funding targeted specifically at recruitment and retention measures to fully staff Children’s Disability Network Teams and reduce the long waiting list for assessments and therapy interventions.

“We included increased social protection measures to help alleviate the additional cost of disability. These measures included increasing Disability Allowance, Invalidity Pension, Illness Benefit and other related benefits by €20 per week; Carers Allowance and Benefit by €15 per week; the annual Carer Support Grant to €2,000 per year and relaxing the Carer’s Allowance means-test.

“We prioritised further and higher education for disabled people with measures that invest in lifelong inclusion in learning by hiring 1,200 SNAs and extending the Fund for Students with Disabilities (FSD) across Further Education and Training.

“We made greater provision for people with disabilities to live in appropriate accommodation by investing in group and independent living in the community, supported by additional personal assistance hours and making public transport accessible.

“We proposed an allocation towards reforming the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passenger’s Scheme to enable more disabled people to gain access to it.

“We proposed a doubling of the funding for housing adaptation grants to allow for inflation and increasing building costs.

“We also proposed supporting a Disabled Persons Organisations (DPO) Training and Development Fund and a Disability Inclusion Fund for all Local Authorities to support their specific disability inclusion requirements in line with the UNCRPD and Public Sector.

“These measure would make a real difference in the lives of disabled people. It would assist in empowering disabled people and ensuring their rights to independent living and access to specialist disability services are met.

“The current government is not delivering for disabled people and family carers. It’s time for change. Sinn Féin in government would stand up for and deliver on disabled people’s rights.”

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