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Disability services need more than €100m to overcome double blow

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Disability services, which have been badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, will get another €100m - but this will not go far enough to meet the level of need.

Day services, which are a vital lifeline, have been severely affected. Although some have resumed since shutdown, they may be open for only a day or two a week.

The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) said the €100m attempts to address the extra disability-related Covid-19 costs and keep existing services going and the Government "must be commended for this". The money is earmarked for more personal assistant hours, more respite services and support for 17,000 school leavers.

It aims to support 16,000 additional posts across the health sector, €5m for extra home care hours to alleviate community waiting lists, €5m dedicated to community-based dementia care and €38m for new measures under Sharing the Vision Mental Health.

It said: "While we acknowledge positives, we must set these measures against some very stark facts.

"There has been a near collapse of disability services hit by a double disaster - firstly, extra Covid-19 costs and secondly a collapse in fundraising for the 80pc of services provided by the voluntary sector."

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DFI chief executive John Dolan. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

DFI chief executive John Dolan. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

DFI chief executive John Dolan. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

DFI chief executive John Dolan said: "It is critical that the full costs of Covid-19 are covered for disability services so that they are able to support people with disabilities as we head into the next wave of the pandemic.

"€100m does not fill the gap. We can estimate that six out of 10 deaths from the virus are made up of people with disabilities.

"So this is not an area to skimp on, especially now."

Irish Independent


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