Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 21 October 2021
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Disability Matters
Aligning Disability Services with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Discussion
Hello to both Mr. O'Reilly and Ms Kenny, with a special hello to Mr. O'Reilly, as a fellow Cavan person. It is good to see him. They have raised many issues. What is common to what both of them have said and indeed what we have heard from other people, is the fight for everything. It is a constant battle to get services they require. Mr. O'Reilly mentioned he was involved in disability groups and represented the Disability Federation of Ireland, DFI, in consultation with the HSE. What sort of experience was that? Did he feel he was listened to or did he feel it was a box-ticking exercise and the HSE went ahead and did what it was going to do anyway? He also talked about a personal assistance, PA, service and the struggle he had to get one, which is outrageous. There is a need for a standardised and properly-funded PA service and personalised budgets for individuals that reflect their needs. How does Mr. O'Reilly envisage that? That will happen if we are to realise the implementation of the UNCRPD.
Ms Kenny talked about a number of issues. She referenced education and transport. As we know, disability is not just a health issue, it affects all Departments. I want to talk to her about disability awareness, which she has said is needed. That is very important in that the people who will be dealing with disabled people need to be aware of their needs. It is based almost on funding, which we know is insufficient or badly organised and spent and not always cost-effective. It is not cost-effective to delay interventions. We need to move away from the medical to the social model. Can Ms Kenny expand on the disability awareness training and a common-sense approach to disabled people?
There is too much bureaucracy and red tape, as Ms Kenny said, even for her to try to send her child to the nearest preschool that suits her needs. Just because it was across the border in a different county, there were issues. That demonstrates the lack of common sense and the amount of bureaucracy attached to such things. I thank the witnesses and look forward to their answers.