Budget 2018 leaves Louth citizens with disabilities behind – Adams
Commenting on Budget 2018’s allocation to citizens with a disability and carers, Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has criticised the government’s “refusal to introduce meaningful supports and much needed additional investment for citizens from Louth/East Meath with disabilities”.
The Louth TD said:
“The Oireachtas Library and Research Service prepared a report for me last month on intellectual disability services in Louth/East Meath.
“The report revealed that according to summary results by the Central Statistics Office, based on last year’s census, there are as many as 20,662 citizens or 13.6% of the population of Louth/East Meath recorded as having a disability.
“As the number of people affected by specific types of disabilities is not currently available – (this data from the 2016 census is expected in early November) – the Oireachtas Library used data from the 2011 census. This identified just over 10,000 citizens in Louth/East Meath with a physical and sensory disability; 7,000 with a chronic illness; just over 5,000 with an intellectual disability and 2,562 with a mental health illness.
“This means that a significant number of disabled citizens and their carers in Louth/East Meath will naturally and inevitably require support from the state.
“Budget 2018 will fail them. The government claim of a €75 million increase fails to break down how this money will be spent but much of it is slotted to cover pay adjustments and the €5 increase in disability and carer payments.
“In reality, it would appear that only an additional €15 million will be available to fund some additional services. This allocation falls far short of what is required for Louth/East Meath and for the 643,000 people and families across the state who suffer the experience of exclusion and for many the poverty that it creates.
· In addition: there is no commitment to increase personal assistance hours or to increase respite care services.
· There is no funding for neuro rehab teams and transitional services.
· There is no mention of any new employment supports for people with disabilities.
· There is no specific target for social housing new builds or adaptions to facilitate those citizens with disabilities.
· There are no disability inclusion initiatives to support citizens with a disability, their carers and families.
“The additional modest benefits are inadequate and will not
come into effect until March next year.
“The week before the budget was published the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Dáil that funding for citizens with disabilities ‘will have to form part of the budget and estimate process.’ He said: ‘I am sure we will find additional funding for disabilities service next year’.
“The Taoiseach and the government did not do that. Those with disabilities and their families and carers will be very disappointed with Budget 2018.
“In our Alternative Budget, Sinn Féin proposed an increase in Disability Allowance, the Blind Pension and Invalidity pension of €6 from January 1st. We also proposed an additional €53.48 million including half a million new personal assistance hours and an increase in respite care services of 20%.
“Sinn Féin would also employ an additional 600 frontline staff including speech and language therapists, physios and psychologists.”