October 4, 2021
€112m proposed for disability in Sinn Féin’s 2022 Alternative Budget for Health – Pauline Tully TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Disability and Carers, Pauline Tully, has emphasised the need for major investment to improve disability services as the party launched Sinn Féin’s €1.4bn Alternative Budget for Health 2022 – ‘For A Health Service That Works’.

Teachta Tully brought forward a package of health measures under the heading ‘Empowering People with Disabilities’ with a focus on independent living for people with a disability and increasing supports for carers.

Teachta Tully said:

“What we are proposing here is only in relation to the alternative budget for health. The issues that people with a disability as well as carers face are multi-departmental, and we will have further proposals under social protection, housing, education, transport and other areas.

“All citizens, including those with disabilities, should have the opportunity to play a full and independent part in all aspects of their lives. Currently this is not a possibility for people with a disability while the focus of disability policy largely remains within a medical model mindset.

“The focus of the measures we have proposed are a reorientation towards a social model of disability and is consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

“This must include the right of people with a disability to live independent and self-determined lives, in line with Article 19 of the UNCRPD.

“To realise this, we need to move much faster in the deinstitutionalisation of people with disabilities and concentrate investment in delivering both the infrastructure and supports needed to empower people with a disability to live independently within their communities.

“This is why we have proposed an additional €40million in capital costs and an additional €8.54million in revenue costs to provide for the transfer of 300 people from residential settings to person centred homes within their community.

“There are also many people with a disability under the age of 65 have been inappropriately placed in nursing homes. We need to rectify this, and transfer people back into their community in a timely manner. The current pace of transfers is too slow, with provision in the 2021 HSE service plan of €3million to transfer only 18 people. Sinn Féin proposes supporting the transfer of 100 people in 2022 which will require a total of €24million in additional funding, €16m in capital and €8m in revenue.

“We are also proposing that additional funding of €12.5million for Personal Assistance (PA) hours to enable people with a disability to live fully independent lives. The current level of PA hours is grossly inadequate and, according to a 2017 report from the Independent Living Movement Ireland (ILMI), approximately 45% of people receiving PA hours are, on average, only receiving 42 minutes per day. Our proposals would deliver an additional 500,000 PA hours.

“People with disabilities must also be empowered to maximise their full potential. Early, consistent and equitable multidisciplinary intervention is essential to the realisation of this potential. We need to ensure that multidisciplinary therapy services for both children and adults are fully resourced to ensure timely access to an assessment and interventions. While the government have made some headway on this in the last couple of years, we believe this is still too slow and children are still waiting years to get access therapy. Sinn Féin in government would commit to the recruitment of an additional 150 therapists in 2022 and provide €5.85million to undertake this. We would also commit to the recruitment to another 150 therapists in 2023.

“Family carers have long been held up as a crucial pillar of care and support in Ireland. But time and time again they have not received the care and support they need and rightly deserve, and Covid-19 has further underlined the appalling lack of support family carers receive. We propose that in 2022 we would provide additional funding of €11million to deliver 9 new respite houses, one in each CHO, which would provide an additional 10,400 respite hours along with a further 214 intensive support packages.

“In addition to the funding we set forth above in the ‘Empowering People with Disabilities’ section of our Alternative Budget we also provide for funding within other sections of the document to update and publish a new Carers Strategy and develop and implement an Autism Action Plan.

“Our proposals set out clearly what Sinn Féin in government would prioritise and deliver for people with disabilities and family carers. Sinn Féin would focus on delivering funding for independent living and ensure access to multidisciplinary therapy for people with disabilities and give carers a break by delivering additional respite.”

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