People with disabilities deserve a new deal with the state. That’s according to the newly branded National Disability Services Association (NDSA), which was launched today, Tuesday 15th December 2020 during an online event.
Rosemary Keogh, Chair of the NDSA said “Over the past ten years the State has allowed a crisis to develop and grow in the not for profit sector delivering services to people with disabilities, despite relying on our sector to deliver it’s statutory obligations. The crisis impacts many thousands of vulnerable adults and children, with two thirds of all disability services delivered by the voluntary sector.”
“The funding crisis has led to what the HSE itself recently called an ‘unsustainable financial situation’ for the sector. But it is ultimately a crisis which arises from the absence of an agreement with national voluntary organisations regarding how we deliver an important part of social care which the state is responsible for. Since the austerity years, the state has underfunded the sector, while simultaneously incurring further costly requirements on our members in areas including compliance and governance.”
From ‘Command and Control’ to ‘Partnership and Collaboration’
At today’s launch Ms Keogh said that the NDSA will be a willing partner with the state and is keen to work positively to establish a new relationship based on collaboration.
“The current relationship is one of ‘command and control’ rather than one of ‘partnership and collaboration’. It is ultimately people with disabilities and their families and communities that suffer, having to rely on fundraising to meet funding shortfalls to provide basic services. The situation has been exacerbated ty Covid-19, which has had a significant negative impact on our fundraising capacity.”
Covid-19 levels of infection lower in comparison to general population
“Our organisations have again during Covid-19 proven our value with our ability to be agile and innovative. Despite the hugely significant challenges posed by the pandemic, working with the HSE and other agencies we have protected very vulnerable members of the community, and the level of infection has been consistently lower in our services in comparison to the general population.”
“Over many years we have had a number of reports including the Department of Health Commissioned Report on the role of voluntary organisations in publicly funded healthy and personal social services, that have identified these issues and the unsustainable manner in which Ireland delivers services for people with disabilities. Now is the time for action, and we won’t be found wanting in working towards solutions. We are ready to work with the New Minister for Disabilities, Anne Rabbitte TD, the HSE and all other agencies to ensure that people with disabilities are afforded the decency and respect that all members of Irish society deserve.”