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
Mr. Damien O'Reilly:
Regarding the first question, I really enjoyed my time on the committees. I thought they were really worthwhile. I do a lot of voluntary work. It is hard to keep up with one's day-to-day activities as well as participate, but it was well worth it. I often think that the voices of people with disabilities are not heard. It is often the organisations that speak on behalf of the people. The people with disabilities do not get the opportunity. That is my experience and that is the experience of other people with disabilities too.
Regarding the question about the PA service, I feel like, maybe, there should be a section within disability services that can provide some sort of administrative support for personal assistant services such as organising payroll, sourcing insurance, support in recruitment, HR, etc. If this were to come to pass, it would be very important that the staff of such departments understand the principles of the personal assistant service and the philosophy of independent living. They would need to understand what a PA is and the differences between a PA and a carer. There are many differences. For example, a carer cannot go outside the house, but the individual and a PA can and that gives more independence to the person. I hope I have answered the question.