Kenny urged to reverse disability charity cuts

Cuts to disability charities of €1.2m in funding must be urgently reversed, the Taoiseach has been told.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin raised the issue in the Dáil as he accused Mr Kenny of lacking “heart” over the way disabled people had been treated.

Mr Martin said the Government had cut money for 26 organisations that help people with severe and rare disabilities.

The Fianna Fáil leader said reduction in funding for the scheme to support national organisations in the community and voluntary sector (SSNO) showed that the Government did not have a coherent disability strategy. Mr Martin warned that the cuts were resulting in a major reduction in services for disabled people.

Chronic Pain Ireland could close down in under 12 months; the Huntingdon’s Disease Association has been forced to end frontline services; the Irish Deaf Society will close its advocacy service; and the Migraine Association may lose a third of its staff as a result of the funding changes, Mr Martin told the Dáil.

The Fianna Fáil leader was scathing after Mr Kenny said that an appeals process was in place.

“This has been a devastating blow for people in the health and disability area.

“They have suffered too much already, there’s no justification for this.

“Would you forget your appeals process and sort it out, because if you had a national disability strategy, this would not have happened in the first place.”

“There’s is no heart in this. It is appalling what you have done here. There is no defence of it and no justification of it.

“All 11 organisations in the Neurological Alliance of Ireland lost their funding.

“These organisations support people enduring very rare conditions.

“The Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland will not be able to put in place early intervention services for people with dementia.

“There is no clear, coordinated focus on disability and this is evident in the fact that these organisations have lost their paltry funding,” Mr Martin said.

The Taoiseach accused Fianna Fáil of cutting benefits for the disabled when in office as he insisted the Government had not let down the charities. Mr Kenny said that nearly €5bn was being given to disability services.

“The Government, across all departments, takes the disability sector very seriously indeed.

“A formal independent appeals process is open to any organisation that has seen a reduction in funding and I suggest this is the route to follow,” Mr Kenny said in Leaders Questions.

The Taoiseach said that €1.4bn of disability funding from the Government went on personal services.


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