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Disabled people not getting services they need - Ó Caoláin

15 March, 2006

Sinn Féin Dáil Leader and Health spokesperson Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin TD has said disabled people are not getting the services they need and the Government is not living up to the promises it made when it introduced the Disability Act. The Sinn Féin Dáil leader was commenting on the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report on the provision of disability services by non-profit organisations.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, “The Report highlights the fact that people with disabilities are almost totally dependent on non-profit organisations to deliver the services they need. While these organizations provide invaluable services, successive governments have placed the entire burden on them and have provided piecemeal funding. The result is patchwork provision with many disabled people losing out.

“It is a disgrace that around 50% of people with physical and sensory disabilities are either not getting the desired level of service or are awaiting assessment. The Disability Act provides for assessment of the needs of all disabled people but, as the Report highlights, standards have not been set for the administration of these assessment and nothing has been put in place to collate the information from the assessments at central level. This undermines planning for future needs.

“Over 60% of people with intellectual disabilities are awaiting new or enhanced services or will require such services before 2010. This shows the shortfall in current provision and the need to plan ahead.

“Only a policy based on both rights and resources can meet the needs of people with disabilities. This Report is a further wake-up call for the Government and they must heed it, otherwise the commitments they made when they enacted the Disability Act will prove worthless.” ENDS

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