Thursday 23 November 2017

Independent Alliance claims credit for €31m in new funding for disability services

Independent Alliance Minister Finian McGrath. Photo: Tom Burke
Independent Alliance Minister Finian McGrath. Photo: Tom Burke

Cormac McQuinn Political Correspondent

The Independent Alliance has claimed credit for €31m in new funding for disability services.

The cash is part of the additional €500m to be spent on the health service in the coming months, announced by the government yesterday.

Disabilities minister Finian McGrath has said that the sum allocated to services in his area “shows the influence of the Independent Alliance in government".

His colleague Transport Minister Shane Ross meanwhile, said relations between the Alliance and Fine Gael are “very professional” and “cordial”.

Asked if he believes the government is stable he replied: “I think it’s now settled down and we’re doing a lot of very good work and we’re going to deliver on a lot of the things that we promised we’d deliver on.

“I don’t think there’s any danger in stability at the moment at all.”

Other Independent Alliance TDs present for the announcement of the cash for disabilities were OPW minister Seán Canney and Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran.

Dublin Bay North TD Mr McGrath said the new cash will “help the most needy in the disability sector”.

He said that €28m will go to improving services including those for people in “emergency cases”.

“When I talk about emergency cases I’m talking about adults with intellectual disabilities in their 40s and 50s whose parents are dying or dead or in their 80s and 90s.

“This is a huge issue… So now what I’m saying is the money now is going to be made available to provide these services.”

He said the remaining €3m is going to new initiatives including support for 18-year-old school leavers with intellectual disabilities.

Mr McGrath said he had raised these issues during government formation talks

“We were a strong advocate for people with disabilities and also other groups as well within the programme for government,” he added.

Mr McGrath conceded that the proposals had not met resistance from Fine Gael.

“In fairness they have accepted when we were doing the negotiations that we had to have actions that were implemented over 100 days.”

He said Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Health Minister Simon Harris were “very supportive”.

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