Áiseanna Tacaíochta urges investment in Direct Payments and individualised supports ahead of Budget 2016

With just a week to go before Budget 2016 is announced, Áiseanna Tacaíochta (ÁT) is urging Government to invest in fair, innovative and individualised disability supports and services.

Director of ÁT, Martin Naughton, is calling for a significant investment in disability supports in Budget 2016, making up for the drastic cuts and complete lack of investment in the rights of people with disabilities over the past seven years.  Since 2008, spending on disability services has been cut by close to 10%, amounting to almost €160 million.

“ÁT urges Government to listen to the voices of people with disabilities and our families who want support services which empower us to live independently – and with dignity and choice –  in our homes and local communities.  We can no longer accept people with disabilities being treated as vulnerable and marginalised; it is time that each of us is recognised as the valuable, dynamic individuals that we are and that the support we are entitled to reflects that”.

Government has committed to promoting community inclusion for people with disabilities and establishing individualised funding models which support this.  

Martin explained, “ÁT’s model of Direct Payments represents the kind of innovative and progressive approach which should be explored and invested in, as it drives the shift towards personalised models of support that give power back to the person, in line with Government policy and Health Service Executive (HSE) commitments”.  

“It is growing ever clearer just how things can be improved, and it is not by pumping money into residential centres as, according to recent reports, Government plans to do to the tune of €450 million.  People with disabilities and our families are the best experts in our own lives; we can and should be supported to make decisions for ourselves about the supports we need and choose, without reliance on the discretion of others.  This is why it is so important that Budget 2016 invests in models of self-directed living supports for people with disabilities, such as Direct Payments, instead of burying more tax-payers money in services that are often dysfunctional.”  

In this light, ÁT has published a document outlining how its model of Direct Payment achieves Government’s vision of progressive, inclusive disability policy.  This is available by clicking the following link: Exploring Direct Payments and Government Policy.

Martin concluded, “The time has never been better to make the final push for the status, rights, resources, supports and funding models that can make Ireland the best place to live as a person with a disability.  We call on Government to use Budget 2016 as a key opportunity to make change happen”. 

For more information, please contact Orlaith Grehan, ÁT Communications Officer, on 086 183 1502 or by emailing orlaith@theatnetwork.com. 

Image by  m_bartosch used with courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net