Tuesday, 29 November 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
427. Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans for People with Disabilities in Ireland, PwDI, for the years 2012 and 2013; his reasons for the cut to its funding; the level of its funding in the years 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and this year in tabular form; the discussions he had with the leaders of PwDI about its budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37702/11]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): It has been decided that funding to People with Disabilities in Ireland (PwDI) must cease at the end of 2011. On the basis of a value for money review, it has been clearly established that the vast majority of the money allocated to PwDI is being spent disproportionately. The largest proportion of PwDI’s annual budget has been spent over the last number of years on the operation of its office headquarters and on administration rather than on the creation of programmes and services which would directly benefit people with disabilities. This was an untenable situation that could not be allowed to continue as people with disabilities were benefiting very little from the allocation in real terms. However, there is no reason why the local PwDI networks around the country should not continue to be active as volunteer bodies and continue their work with people with disabilities.
It is my wish to ensure that people with disabilities directly benefit from any money allocated to this sector. With this in mind, I am currently overseeing the finalisation of a major Value for Money and Policy Review of Disability Services in the Department of Health to ensure that existing funding allocated for people with disabilities is spent to best effect. I am also interested in hearing what people with disabilities have to say on issues affecting them. I have just set up and am personally chairing a new National Disability Strategy Implementation Group to develop and progress disability strategy. The new group will include representation from a number of disability stakeholder organisations and also a number of people with disabilities who will be able to bring their lived experience directly to bear on the very important work of this high level group. This will ensure the voice and perspective of people with disabilities will continue to be heard in a more focused and cost effective way.
The Government must ensure that in 2012, and continuing thereafter, that funding is allocated for maximum provision of services for people with disabilities, having regard to overall resource constraints which affect all sectors at this time. As can be seen from the attached table, due to a general decline in Network activity around the country, PwDI as an organisation were unable to spend their allocation in the last few years. Over €1 million euro allocated to PwDI since 2007 was returned to the Exchequer. Government funding for the years 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011* is set out in the table. * Figure at Sept 2011 PwDI funding 2007-2010
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