Pictured outside the sitting of the Dail in the Convention Centre today is service user Ethan Wilson from Castleknock. Sasko Lazarov
Dáil Protest

Planned 1% disability cut to be scrapped and day services to 'gradually resume' in August, confirms Taoiseach

Up to 100 people protested today against the Government’s failure to fully reopen day services for adults with disabilities.

TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN has confirmed that the planned €20 million cut to disability services that was announced last January will now not go ahead. 

He also told the Dáil today that adult day services will gradually resume during August. 

Up to 100 people gathered outside the Convention Centre, where the Dáil is sitting this week, to protest against the Government’s failure to fully reopen day services for adults with disabilities.

Families and carers say they have had no day service to attend or a significant reduction in services since March.

Protesters said people with disabilities are being left behind while the rest of the country is being reopened.

Speaking in the Dáil today, Social Democrats TD Róisin Shortall asked about the “so-called efficiency cut”, stating that prior to the general election Fianna Fáil committed to reversing the cut.

“We know from listening to disability organisations that they are hearing on the ground that the HSE intends to proceed with that cut. The cut is not gone. I want the Taoiseach to confirm that he is committed to reversing that €20 million cut,” she said.

“I confirm that the efficiency saving will not be applied. This is not about the 1% saving that the cut would represent. The funding to health services as a result of the pandemic is now multiples of that provided in the original health Estimate. Additional billions in funding will be going to health services in general. That cut will not be applied,” said the Taoiseach.

He said the overarching position of the government is that services should reopen for the 19,000 people affected.

“We need precision and a concrete set of proposals to allow that to happen, similar to what has transpired in education where proposals have been particularly comprehensive. I have been told that the vast majority of service providers will resume in August and the HSE has not been told by anybody that they will not be resuming services in August,” said Martin.

He said he wants to probe more into the matter, stating that he wants to see definite plans on this matter.

011 Enough is Enough Pictured outside the sitting of the Dail in the Convention Centre today is service user Darragh Byrnes from Leopardstown. Sasko Lazarov Sasko Lazarov

Labour leader Alan Kelly also raised the matter with the Taoiseach, stating that the resumption of day services is something he has been raising for three weeks now.

“The issue here is that those people have been forgotten about. They have had no day services and they are losing the will to live. They have no stimulation. Routine is everything in their lives,” he said.

He said the timeline for reopening schools needs to be the same for day services.

Linda Comerford, spokeswoman for campaign group Enough is Enough, said the Resumption Framework for Adult Disability Day Services is, at best, “vague, non-committal and offers no reassurance”.

For parents and families to witness this and see it continue, despite our best efforts to help our loved one, is gut-wrenching

“There is no indication or plan of when day services can fully reopen and the two-metre social distancing rule is drastically reducing centres’ capacity,” Comerford said.

“The document also states that ‘the availability of safe transport is essential to the delivery of day services across the country’, yet many families are being told that there will be no transport available to them.

“Going from 30 hours a week to six, nine or 15 hours divided up into three hours a day, depending on the service and the needs of an individual, is a very inferior service. Where is the rest of an individual’s funding going?

“Zoom calls, activity packs to do at home or someone coming to an adult’s home to bring them for a walk cannot be deemed a service.”

With reporting by PA

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