National Federation issues Press Statement stating the Disability Funding Crisis is not confined to Rehab Group (Edit)

(09 May 2019)


The funding crisis revealed this week by RehabCare is unfortunately only the tip of the iceberg. Most independent voluntary not-for-profit providers of disability services are facing exactly the same challenges as RehabCare – chronic underfunding of essential supports and services to people with disabilities, the unfunded cost of meeting regulatory and compliance requirements, and the high cost of insurance.   Many organisations are challenged by the consequences of this under-funding, both in terms of the impact they see it having on the lives of people they support and the effect of cumulative deficits on the future sustainability of those organisations.  The reality is that some organisations are concerned about their future existence in light of the erosion of the financial position.

These funding challenges are placing the future stability of services for people with disability at risk, and they must be tackled as a matter of urgency. Thousands of people with intellectual, physical, and sensory disabilities, as well as many with mental ill-health, and their families depend on these services every day of the week.

All member organisations are part of the not-for-profit voluntary sector in Ireland. As not-for-profit organisations we came into existence to meet real and substantial needs of people with disabilities and their families in communities all over Ireland, when the State did not meet that need.  We are driven by our service commitment to support people with intellectual disabilities which is the reason we exist. But it is now time to call a halt to underfunding, so chronic that very many of our disability service providers are hanging on by a thread. This is not fair to the people who use these services and their families who are living in the fear of the loss of their service, when they have a right to know and be assured that the services they need so badly have a future.

On the same day Rehab announced their need for €2m extra in funding this year, the Government was announcing spending €3bn on the rollout of broadband by a private company. The contrast is stark and will not be lost on the families of the many people with a disability whose civil rights guaranteed under the Constitution and the UN Convention of Rights of the Person with Disabilities (ratified in April 2018) are not being delivered on.

The report of the Independent Review Group, established by the Minister for Health to examine the role of voluntary organisations in health and personal social care, published in February 2019 recommended a new funding model, as well as multi-annual funding. We welcome that report and its recommendations.  But it is now urgent that these recommendations be implemented, and we are asking Government to urgently progress the implementation of the recommendations of that report.  Failure to do this will force organisations in the voluntary not-for-profit sector into making decisions to terminate services or face closure.

Sustaining and properly funding the voluntary sector is in the best interests of the people supported by that sector.  The thousands of people living with disability, and their families, rely on those services to live their lives and it is essential that the State commits to a long-term funding strategy to ensure the viability of this sector. 




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