Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Committee on Budgetary Oversight

Annual Budget Disability Proofing: Disability Federation of Ireland

Photo of Martin HeydonMartin Heydon (Kildare South, Fine Gael)
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I thought I had plenty of time, but I should have taken the Chairman up on the offer he made when I came in. I have to chair another meeting now and I was speaking in the Dáil Chamber earlier.

Although I missed the start of the Disability Federation Ireland presentation, I have read the opening statement. The overriding points come through very clearly. There is a reference to nebulous information. It is really important to have figures from the Department and drill down into them. It is not just about the hours people are getting but the quality of those hours.

In a budgetary process, it is very difficult to calculate the positive impact of early intervention in any scenario. For a relatively small amount of money, early support can prevent very significant costs in terms of healthcare, mental health and active living. Can we use international best practice to quantify that? I run the risk of sounding desensitised because I recognise that this relates to real people and their lives. How can those involved in the budgetary process make the argument for people facing the challenges of independent living and wanting to pursue their lives, goals and dreams like any of us would? We know it makes sense to invest a small amount now for tremendous economic returns, never mind the societal benefits, etc. The committee will take the points the witnesses have raised and feed them into its work with the Department in the future.