Key Achievements

2018 was a significant year for people with disabilities, most remarkably the ratification earlier this year of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), according to Minister for Disabilities Finian McGrath.

The convention which was signed back in 2007, now ensures that there is a commitment to secure equal rights and equal treatment of people with disabilities.

“This was a historic moment for disability rights in Ireland and I’m proud to say that I delivered on this commitment in less than two years as Minister for Disabilities.”

Other key achievements this year included the addition of an extra 14,000 free GP cards for Carers who are in receipt of Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Benefit. This ensures that Carers own physical, mental and emotional well-being is protected and it is another step forward in recognising the very important role of Carers in Ireland.

“I’m delighted that we have been able to secure this and it’s another way of saying thank you for the incredible work our Carers do.”

A further improvement for people with disabilities and their families this year was the extra €10million allocated to Respite services.

“At the beginning of the year, I secured this funding across each of the HSE Community Health Organisations (CHO). The funding provided 12 new houses, 1 in each CHO, and 3 in the Greater Dublin area, to cater for greater demand. €2m of that extra money was targeted at alternative respite services. These are practical and important solutions, extended day services, summer camps and Saturday clubs. And, throughout the year they made a difference to families right across the country. It gives me great pleasure to know that such services will provide a valuable and well-deserved break for those with disabilities and their families.”

Minister McGrath said he was also pleased to report that Registration of all Section 69 residential designated centres for people with disabilities was achieved by the statutory deadline of 31st October.

“As we start 2019, there’s a lot to look forward to in relation to disability services. The total funding available to us in the HSE National Service Plan, 2019 is €1.924.8bn. This represents an increase of 8.6% over 2018’s funding. This is a hugely positive step in ensuring greater care, equality, and opportunities for people with disabilities. But there’s still challenges that lie ahead and it’s important that we tackle this head-on as we enter a new year of possibility.

One of my key priorities this year is to improve services in Assessment of Needs and that is why I’ve secured developments in Children’s Disability Networks as well as 100 New Therapy Posts. Other important developments that the service plan will deliver on for 2019 are as follows:

  • 8,568 Residential Places + 90 New Emergency Residential Places
  • 27,067 people to access 22,272 Day Places
  • 10,629 people with Disabilities will avail of 4.7m hours of P.A. and Home Support hours
  • 16.5k Respite Nights
  • 182,506 nights of Overnight Respite

It is my hope that these services will further improve mental well-being and care as well as provide a vital break for those with disabilities and their families in 2019.

After a successful 2018, I believe that we can continue to raise the bar even higher this year. I look forward to embracing this challenge with all of my might but I also need your help to achieve a more successful, accessible Ireland for those with disabilities, and further keep in line with our UNCRPD commitments.”