Press Release from the Independent Living Movement Ireland

Immediate Release 14th October 2020

“€100 million new investment must prioritise supports that disabled people need to live as equals in an inclusive Irish society”

Today (Wednesday 14th October) Independent Living Movement Ireland (ILMI) welcomed an unprecedented new investment of €100million announced for disability services, but are calling on the new Department of Children, Disability, Equality, Integration and Youth to ensure this increased funding is used to ensure the inclusion of disabled people in society and not spent on outmoded services that continue to segregate and isolate disabled people.

“Yesterday’s announcement is evidence of the value of having disability named as part of a singular department with an equality and inclusion remit. It also signifies the  commitment of Minister Roderic O Gorman, Minister Ann Rabbite and their officials to ensuring in the year that Ireland makes its first report to the UNCRPD*, that there are significant steps to be undertaken to realise disabled people’s rights” said ILMI Chairperson, Des Kenny.

“Real inclusion is not about delivering the same services in the same way. It is not about throwing money at systems that do not meet disabled people’s needs. It is not about continuing with the Status Quo of more money for services that are neither shaped by nor run by Disabled people. We want real change, and we feel that with the formation of a new department, with new ministers, and a significant budgetary increase, we, disabled people,   are entitled to see that change delivered” added Mr Kenny

“I am heartened to hear Minister McGrath mention that the funding increase will be used to deliver on decongregation. This is long overdue. ILMI recognizes the record €5.2 billion investment in public housing, and we need to ensure that the needs of disabled people will be met in the construction of accessible public homes, and this needs to be delivered in tandem with decongregation, increased Personal Assistance Service hours so that disabled people can live independent lives. Covid-19 has shown that there are no safe institutions, and significant targets need to be set, resourced and met over 2021 in this regard” added Mr Kenny.

“We need to be honest that the State cannot invest in supports to promote inclusion and equality whilst also pumping exchequer money into services that are by their very nature segregating disabled people in institutions, nursing homes and day centres outside of mainstream education, employment and social and cultural life.

We welcome that there will be a significant increase in the number of hours for the Personal Assistance Service and look forward to looking at how significant this increase in PA hours will be. This is the type of support that disabled people want in order to be in control of our lives and that will facilitate our being actively involved in all aspects of Irish life.

We in ILMI have seen disabled people respond creatively to the challenges of Covid19 creating new and exciting online spaces to combat social isolation. The capital allocation to the National Broadband Plan and additional proposed measures to support home working need to also plan accordingly to ensure there is no digital divide between disabled and non-disabled people, on a rural or urban basis. The technology is there, and it can free us to connect as disabled people in ways that were unimaginable a short time ago, but which allows us to give voice to how monies invested should be invested in what we need and want, as opposed to what services feel they should deliver”.