Wednesday, 28 September 2022
Financial Resolutions 2022 - Financial Resolution No. 6: General: Financial Resolution (Resumed)
Disabled persons organisations and disability representative groups have called for more clarity on how the budget is actually broken down. The Minister of State provided some of that this evening but if we could have an even more in-depth view, it would be welcome. Even the Parliamentary Budget Office could not provide much clarity to me today. One figure the Minister of State gave was the €11.7 million to deal with the backlog of assessment of needs. Has she a timeframe for how that will be dealt with? She said previously, as did the Minister, Deputy Stephen Donnelly, that it is not actually a monetary issue; it is more a recruitment and retention issue. What plans does the Minister of State have to deal with the recruitment and retention issues? I welcome the fact that she indicated there is an allocation to deal with the issues in respect of section 39 organisations. The section 39 organisations are haemorrhaging staff to the HSE and they will continue to do so until there is equal pay and conditions for the work they do.
Much of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, UNCRPD, is around independent living. We have an increasing number of disabled adults living with aged parents who are languishing on local authority lists. Until the HSE provide the support and care packages or the personal assistance service to them, they cannot live independently. We need a breakdown on how many people will be provided with independent living supports and be allowed to actually move into and live in the community. How many people will be moved from congregated settings to do so? How many people aged under 65 who have been placed inappropriately in nursing homes will be moved? We need to have a target on those.
I refer to the implementation plan for the capacity review, which still has not been published. The Minister of State said in July that it would be published in a few weeks and the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Deputy O'Gorman, told me that disability would be moving to his Department in August as well. Neither has happened. Do we have a date for that? The sooner we do the better.
There needs to be a long-term strategy in this budget to properly support, recognise and acknowledge family carers, without whom our health system would completely collapse. Measures are unduly weighted towards one-off interventions rather than sustained solutions. Disability poverty is not one-off issue; it is a constant one. One in five disabled people lives in constant poverty and another two in five are at risk of poverty. Supports have to be put in place to deal with that. It is disappointing that no funding was allocated to specifically assist disabled entrepreneurs and business people. There are supports for people to employ disabled people but there is little support for disabled people to set up and run their own businesses, which is important.