National Federation expresses significant concern around disability provisions in Budget 2024

(10 Oct 2023)

National Federation expresses significant concern around disability provisions in Budget 2024

The National Federation of Voluntary Service Providers has today expressed significant concern around the provisions for people with disability as outlined in Budget 2024.

Chief Executive Alison Harnett noted; “Whilst we welcome the allocation of an additional €64million in disability services, we are extremely concerned, because the allocation of 90 residential places clearly does not cater for responding to the significant unmet need outlined in the Disability Capacity Review. Instead, it continues the unsustainable allocation of residential supports on an emergency-only basis, again meaning the responsibility for residential support remains largely with the families of people with intellectual disabilities, many of whom are very elderly. In successive years, this approach has failed to realise the rights of people with disabilities as set out in Article 19 of the UNCRPD to live with supports in the community, and leaves people and their families in distress, with no route to planned residential support".

The National Federation is urgently seeking confirmation as to when the Disability Capacity Action Plan that was approved by Government during the summer will be published, as it does not appear to have been funded in the response to residential needs in Budget 2024.

Chair of the National Federation Clare Dempsey noted: “We are also very concerned that there was no announcement of funding for inflation in disability services. Inflationary pressures are impacting significantly and challenging the sustainability of disability services providers who are already in crisis. A welcome allocation in last year’s budget provided a respite from the pressures on electricity, food and transport that are essential aspects of the delivery of frontline disability services.” 

The National Federation is continuing to seek an urgent resolution of the pay parity crisis threatening the immediate future of Section 39 providers. A funding allocation to resolve this inequality is necessary and we are seeking reassurance that this will be provided as a matter of urgency to ensure that citizens supported by Section 39 disability services can receive services and that the providers can continue to respond to essential requirements for frontline disability services.  


Contact: Alison Harnett, Chief Executive

091 792 316

Notes to editors:

  • The Capacity Review of Disability Services highlighted an unmet need for residential support of up to 2,300 places. 
  • The publication of the Action Plan to implement this report is more than a year overdue, and has not been published in spite of being approved by Government in summer 2023.
  • The National Federation reported in 2022 that there were more than 1500 individuals living with a parent over the age of 70, more than 450 of whom were over the age of 80
  • A consistent requirement of the HSE in recent years has been the out-turn of 90 places just to meet emergency need.  There is an immediate need for 315 places as identified by the HSE in December 2022.
  • In spite of this evidence and with increasing distress being experienced by individuals and their families, just 90 additional residential support packages have been announced in Budget 2024. 
  • The State provides 70% of disability services via the voluntary sector. However, the sustainability of services is under unprecedented threat due to challenges around recruitment and retention, inflationary pressures and resourcing of regulatory requirements. These challenges are impacting on the quality of life of the people supported.
  • Inflationary pressures funding was welcome in Budget 2023 and in the context of continued inflationary pressures, is required as an essential requirement in Budget 2024.
  • The unsustainable pay gap in Section 39 organisations is causing an immediate threat to the viability of key essential services.  



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