Commenting on the release of HIQA’s inspection report of centres for people with disabilities, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Disability and Carers Pauline Tully commented on how the report highlights the consequences of the government’s failure in transfer people with disabilities out of residential settings and the need to drastically increase the funding for these transfers to the level Sinn Féin has committed to.
Teachta Tully said:
“The ‘Time to Move on from Congregated Settings Report’, which was published in 2011, committed to transfer all people with disabilities living in residential institutions into community-based settings by 2018.
“This commitment was missed and there are still thousands of people who remain in residential institutions today.
“This latest HIQA inspection report found that compared to community based settings ‘residents living in campus-based or congregated settings experienced disparities in the quality and safety of their care’.
“It also found that the people who remain in congregated settings ‘experienced disparities… in their ability to independently exercise their rights.’
“It’s bad enough that there are still thousands of people with disabilities living in congregated settings, but to find out that the level of care and support they experience is almost half that of people living in community-based settings is scandalous.
“This is an unacceptable situation and flies in the face of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
“The right of People with disabilities to live an independent, full and valued life is not being respected by this or previous governments.
“The government have now had almost 10 years to fulfil their commitment to transfer people with disabilities into community-based settings but according to the recently published Disability Capacity Review only around 700 had been transferred by the end of 2018.
“The speed at which the government are presently committing to transfer people on a yearly basis is severely inadequate, with a funding commitment of €4.1 million in Budget 2021 to transfer only 144 people.
“This year’s budget marginally increased this funding to €5 million. This will at best lead to a similar number of people being transferred as in 2021.
“At this pace it will take decades to transfer all of the people out of these institutions.
“Sinn Fein, in our alternative budget document, set this out as a clear commitment by pledging to increase funding for the transfer of people with disabilities living in residential institutions into community-based settings by €48.54 million, €8.54 million in resource and €40 million in capital.
“This would result in the transfer of 300 people into community settings.
“We also committed to continue with this level of funding until we had every person remaining in an institution has been transferred into a community setting.
“Sinn Féin is committed to ensuring the rights of people with disabilities are respected.”
Link to report – Overview report of disability services 2020