February 16, 2022
Much-delayed debate on transferring disability portfolio welcome – Violet-Anne Wynne TD

Sinn Féin TD for Clare, Violet-Anne Wynne, has welcomed legislation that was debated in the Dáil that will allow for the transfer of the disability portfolio from the Department of Health to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.

Teachta Wynne said:

“Since being elected, I have been advocating for the rights of people with disabilities, so that they can be empowered to exercise the choice and control needed to have an Independent life, as free and equal.

“I was excited that in the formation of the 33rd Dáil, ‘disability’ featured in one of the Departments full titles. However, over the course of the last two years it has been exposed to be just in name.

“Minister for State Anne Rabbitte has been hard at work, but the transfer of function has been far too protracted. 

“The Department of Health has retained the significant €2.2billion disability budget for 2022 so effectively we have to wait until 2023 until any concrete systemic and institutional change will take place to dismantle the medical and charity models that have entrenched Disabled People’s inequality and segregation.

“The Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2022 is definitely a step in the right direction, albeit very late in the day. Transitioning from the medical model to the social model of disability should have been a top priority for the 33rd Dáil but what all we’ve seen to date is kicking the can down the road.

“The Bill is only at Second Stage which means that the conferral of these functions may not, realistically, take place during this Dáil term. This I believe is unacceptable.

“Meanwhile, people with disabilities still cannot challenge the State for not preserving their human rights because the government has opted out of a protocol that would allow them to do so.

“What’s more, is huge tranches of funding that were announced for 2021 decongregation and transferring under-65s out of nursing homes was unspent and goes back into ‘time-related savings’ and the government continues to congratulate themselves for ‘unprecedented levels of funding for disability services’.”

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