Independent Living Movement Ireland

Press Release from the Independent Living Movement Ireland (ILMI)

Immediate Release 3rd October

ESRI paper highlights the need to finally design and invest in a Personal Assistance Service (PAS) to realise disabled people’s lives 

Time to invest in a national Personal Assistance Service (PAS) and move from continuing segregated services to meet Ireland’s commitments under the UNCRPD 

Today (Tuesday 3rd October) ILMI welcomed the findings of the ESRI research paper “Personal Assistance Services for Disabled People in Ireland: ‘they meet the criteria for supports but we don’t have the resources to provide the services’ which reaffirms the ILMI PAS NOW campaign to design, develop and invest in a functioning Personal Assistance Service (PAS).  

“The ESRI paper echoes what ILMI and disabled people have been saying for decades: we do not have a national strategy for delivering Personal Assistance Service in Ireland and that has to change in order for us to meet our commitments under the UNCRPD” said Des Kenny, ILMI Chairperson.  

“It is telling that HSE disability service managers recognise that PAS provides an “invaluable personalised service for a considerably low budget in Budget system comparison to other disability services” yet it amounts to less than 3% of the €2.3 billion spent on disability services annually. We have an unknown number disabled people indefinitely on waiting lists for a service that liberates us, gives us choice to participate in society and yet the State continues to pour money into outdated segregated services. What is needed now is cross-party political leadership to build a PAS system for the 21st Century in Ireland. The priority issue for disabled people is fully functional PAS system. We need legislators and policy makers to work with ILMI to build a system that clearly defines what a PA is, that standardises the assessment based on our needs for PAS inside and outside our homes and massively increases investment in the PAS system” added Mr Kenny.  

“Investment in PAS has to be a priority when developing a national implementation strategy for the UNCRPD. This doesn’t need to be new money, there are considerable sums of money continually poured into services that are totally antithetical to the aims of the UNCRPD. It is high time that exchequer funding is utilised to ensure our right to participate in society is resourced. The ESRI research shows what ILMI has said throughout our PAS NOW campaign: we have an ad-hoc system that is dependent on goodwill of HSE staff, with no standardised assessment and a postcode lottery that determines whether you get any PA hours, let alone the hours many of us need to live our lives, to participate in society. The fact that HSE staff are telling the ESRI that disabled people must wait for other disabled people to die before hours can be “recycled” tells us how dysfunctional our PAS provision is” added Mr Kenny.  

The ESRI research also echoes discussions among ILMI members over the last twelve months in that the recruitment and retention of PAs is becoming increasingly difficult due to the lack of investment in PAS.

Information for Editors:
ESRI Research Paper “Personal Assistance Services for Disabled People in Ireland: ‘they meet the criteria for supports but we don’t have the resources to provide the services’

Eamonn Carroll  
The Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin

Ciarán Mac Domhnaill  
University of St. Andrews, Scotland

Selina McCoy*  
The Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin, and Trinity College Dublin

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