AN increase of €105m to disability funding in the Budget has been welcomed by Chairman of the Oireachtas Disability Committee and Cork North West TD, Michael Moynihan.
eputy Moynihan said the additional funding would further “bolster the supports and services for people with disabilities of all ages across the country”.
“Building on the success of the 92% reduction in the Assessments of Need backlog, the focus of my colleagues and I in Government will be to increase access to timely early interventions. Increased recruitment of therapists and admin roles to bolster the 91 Children Disability Network Teams, combined with other wait list initiatives such as investment in digital health technologies, will, over the course of the year, reduce the length of time children are waiting to access these vital services,” he said.
The delivery of respite houses would also be doubled across the country, Deputy Moynihan said, giving the credit for the initiative to Disability Minister Anne Rabbitte.
He also said that his party colleague had also secured the single biggest increase in Personal Assistant Hours in recent years, equating to 120,000 extra hours being made available.
“Additionally, this budget will provide a once of allocation of €10m to be spent on the upgrading of service provider buses and assistive technologies to bolster services and supports.”
Earlier this year, Deputy Moynihan, in his role as Chairman of the Oireachtas Disability Committee, had spearheaded the publication of a report recommending more funding for the disability sector to bring Ireland more in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
In a further move to bring Ireland closer in line with the UN Charter, Deputy Moynihan welcomed additional funding of €2.5m to ‘support the participation of people with disabilities in local activities, to help remove barriers to community involvement, and to support the promotion and implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in communities’.
Local authorities can use this fund directly, or in partnership with local organisations, in order to carry out actions that will temove barriers to, and improve the accessibility of community life or community activities, for people with disabilities. The funding can also be used to provide funding to networks and clubs at local level to expand the involvement and participation of people with disabilities in their activities, promote awareness, understanding, and implementation of the UNCRPD, support disability capacity building within local authorities.
“As Ireland continues its journey to full realisation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, action is required at every level of society.
“This Fund will help us reach people in their communities, improving their opportunities to participate more fully in local and everyday life.
“I encourage local authorities across the country to consider what activities, projects and initiatives can be advanced through the Fund and to bring forward proposals and applications.
“Equally, I would encourage community organisations to explore what can be achieved in partnership with their local authorities.”
The deadline for applications by local authorities is 3pm on November 8.