Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has called for the reversal of cuts to disability and health-related organisations. He stated:
“At the start of July the Irish Deaf Society was refused funding under the Scheme to Support National Organisations (SSNO) and had to close its advocacy operation. It then came to light that 25 other health and disability-related organisations were also denied further funding.
“The SSNO is administered by Pobal under the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government. The current scheme runs from now until 2016.
“The Neurological Alliance Ireland (NAI) is facing closure after losing its core funding under the SSNO scheme. All 11 neurological organisations that were receiving support from the scheme have lost their funding. Various frontline and other important services will now be axed and jobs lost. In the NAI’s case, they will be forced to effectively cease operations by the year end unless an alternative source to replace lost funding of €60,000 a year is found.
“The other neurological organisations affected include MS Ireland, Muscular Dystrophy Ireland, the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association, the Migraine Association of Ireland, the Huntington’s Disease Association, Chronic Pain Ireland, ABI Ireland, the Alzheimer Society and Irish Heart Foundation Stroke Action.
“Overall some 26 disability and health and caring-related organisations have seen their funding revoked in the allocations for the 2014-2016 round of Scheme to Support National Organisations (SSNO), at a total loss of approximately €1.2m annually.
“The Disability Federation of Ireland has called on the new Cabinet to enact measures to restore this funding.
“These cuts are quite disgraceful. They are mean and penny-pinching but their impact will be far beyond their monetary value. Services and advocates and resources for people with disabilities and others are being lost.
“Before the Dáil summer recess commences at the end of this week the new Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Alan Kelly should over-turn these cuts and restore the funding.”