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Statement from National Disability Services Association

The National Disability Services Association, which represents seven of the largest disability service providers in Ireland, has expressed its serious concern at the failure of the Government to adequately address the resourcing of disability services in Budget 2024.

Speaking after the Budget announcement, Chairpersonof the NDSA, Barry McGinn, said:

“Despite the fanfare of an additional €64 millionfor disability, we are extremely alarmed by the complete lack of information in the Budget announcement.

Disability Service providers are left completely in the dark as to whether they will be able to continue to provide the same level of services into 2024.  Worryingly, the Budget fails to address the long-standing issue of equality and pay-parity for Section 39 workers, notwithstanding the imminent threat of strike facing several of our members.  Furthermore, there is no reference to essential inflationary funding, which was provided in last year’s budget.

“We are calling on Government to provide immediate clarification on funding for disability services and to provide assurances that these issues will be addressed."

“While the ongoing crisis in the disability sectoris primarily one of funding, it stems from the absence of a policy or strategy defining the role of the sector in delivering an important element of socialcare for which the state is responsible. It is incomprehensible that the Disability Action Plan agreed by Cabinet last July was not published prior to the budget and that the Budget was announced with no regard to what is in that plan."

“There is a serious risk that, over time, voluntary organisations will be unable to fulfil their service arrangements to the HSE.  The state relies on us to deliver its statutory obligation to people with disabilities but is not providing the resources to do so."

Just over one year out from the next election, the Government has missed the opportunity to honour their commitments in the Programme for Government for a “new social contract” for people with disabilities and the organisations that work with them and to fulfil their obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

We are urging them to engage with disability service providers as a matter of urgency to ensure that funding is in place toensure that the most vulnerable citizens of our society are protected and giventhe care they need and deserve.”


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