The National Federation of Voluntary Service Providers has urged the Government to significantly invest in the Disability Action Plan to ensure severe unmet need is addressed

(13 Dec 2023)

The National Federation today welcomed the launch of the Action Plan for Disability Services 2024 – 2026 - this Action Plan has been long awaited and is much needed.


The Disability Capacity Review, and the Action Plan launched today describe more than 4,400 people with disabilities living with significant unmet residential support needs, more than 18,000 children on waiting lists for Children’s Network Development Teams, and a growing need for therapeutic services and supports.


The severe unmet need set out in the Action Plan matches with the experience of our member organisations throughout the country, who are supporting many children and adults with intellectual disabilities and autism and their families who currently do not have access to fundamentally important services such as early intervention, therapeutic services, planned residential supports and respite. These unmet needs leave people with intellectual disabilities and autism without any way to access their rights to live in the community as set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


Chief Executive Alison Harnett noted; “Whilst we welcome the allocation of an initial €64million in disability services in the first year of the plan, we remain very concerned that this level of funding is not yet going to provide the thousands of people with disabilities and their families who have no access to planned supports with the support that they need. A greater level of investment will be required in successive budgets to adequately respond to the significant unmet need outlined in the Disability Capacity Review.”


We welcome the development of a plan to work towards ensuring that the allocation of residential supports no longer takes place on an emergency-only basis, as this approach leaves the responsibility for residential support largely with the families of people with intellectual disabilities, many of whom are very elderly. In successive years, the current 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 has left people and their families in great distress, with no access to a planned future.


Chair of the National Federation Clare Dempsey noted: There is a need for significant political will across all parties and collaboration across Government Departments to ensure that this plan is implemented and that the required investment takes place to ensure that the unmet needs of people with intellectual disabilities and autism become a priority.”  



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