Sinn Féin spokesperson on Disability, Pauline Tully TD, has said that Budget 2024 has failed people with disabilities and their families.
Speaking ahead of a Sinn Féin motion calling on government to revisit budgetary provisions for disability services, Deputy Tully added that underfunding would mean that children will continue to wait too long for, and go without, assessments and therapies they need, that young people with disabilities will remain inappropriately placed in nursing homes, and that carers will continue to burn out without respite.
Teachta Tully said:
“Budget 2024 failed people with disabilities and their families. It is a disaster for disability services. This failure must now be fixed.
“The government has the money to sort this out and cannot starve these vital services of funding they need to continue to operate.
“It is a bare minimum that as a state we look after our most vulnerable citizens and their families who face burn out without access to services, including respite.
“For those with disabilities, for their families, for their carers and for those trying to deliver disability services, the government must revise the budgetary provisions for disability services.
“This week Section 39 workers will go on strike. The last place these workers want to be is on a picket line.
“But the workers and their trade unions have been driven to this action due to government inaction and intransigence.
“As a result, families and service users will be particularly affected, this includes children with disabilities, older people, and people with disabilities.
“It is yet another example of this government failing people with disabilities.
“In our motion this week, Sinn Féin is calling on government to revise the budgetary provisions for disability services so that new monies available for improvements amount to at least €155 million next year and separately to ensure that the costs of disability and running disability services are properly provided for.
“Crucially they must also address the recruitment and retention crisis in disability services by making a better offer to trade unions and allocating the funding necessary to achieve pay parity for workers in Section 39 organisations.
“They must also guarantee that the one-off payments provided to assist disability service providers to cover the ongoing high cost of delivering existing services in 2023 will be repeated for 2024.
“And finally they must publish a fully costed Disability Action Plan which meets the needs of people with disabilities, including existing unmet need and expected future need, and which places disability services on a sustainable footing.
“The government needs to start listening, and right the wrongs of Budget 2024.
“Sinn Féin will continue to fight for people with disabilities and their families, so that the services they need are both accessible and properly funded.”
Sinn Féin’s motion can be read here.