Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Rural and Community Development
Disability Services Funding
52. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development her views on adding a requirement that all funding from her Department includes provisions to meet and further rights of persons with disabilities. [43580/20]
Actions to meet and further the rights of persons with disabilities are delivered across a number of Government Departments and organisations, with the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth having responsibility for the National Disability Inclusion Strategy which runs from 2017 to 2021. My Department has many funding programmes which groups can apply for, including those that work to meet and further rights of persons with disabilities. They include:
- Under the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP), funding is provided to Local Development Companies to complete work with marginalised individuals, including persons with disabilities and the groups that represent them.
- This type of support will continue over the lifetime of the programme, which runs from 2018 to 2022.
- The Scheme to Support National Organisations (SSNO) provides multiannual core funding to national organisations that demonstrate good governance and deliver services and supports that have a focus on one or more of the following: addressing poverty, social exclusion, and promoting equality. The current scheme commenced in July 2019 and is due to close in 2022. €18.8 million was allocated to 74 organisations for the 36-month period of the scheme. There are three disability groups funded under the SSNO 2019-2022. They are the Disability Federation of Ireland, Disability Equality Specialist Support Agency Company Limited by Guarantee and Inclusion Ireland - National Association for People with an Intellectual Disability.
- Several other organisations funded under the scheme provide supports and programmes addressing a wide range of social inclusion issues, including disability supports.
- In 2020, my Department has approved €691,231 for the provision of sensory facilities and equipment in public libraries. This has supported the creation of sensory rooms, gardens and the provision of sensory equipment including comfort kits, Magic Tables and Hublets. These facilities will be used by individuals with Alzheimer’s, sensory impairments, special educational needs and other learning difficulties, and those on the Autism spectrum.
- In addition, since 2019 I have paid €1.3 million under the Dormant Accounts Fund for library supports to disadvantaged, socially excluded and marginalised communities, these projects included initiatives for those with profound physical and learning needs and also visual and hearing impairments. My Department’s Libraries Capital Programme also requires projects to comply with building regulations which legislate for the needs of people with disabilities.
- The Community Enhancement Programme provides small capital grants to enhance facilities in disadvantaged areas. Examples of such projects addressing the needs of persons with disabilities include the provision of wheel chair access ramps/lifts, retro-fitting premises to allow disabled access, and equipment/technology to assist those with disabilities.
- The Community Services Programme, or CSP, currently supports over 420 community organisations to provide services to disadvantages communities and target groups through a social enterprise model, while also creating employment opportunities for specific disadvantaged groups, including persons with disabilities. The CSP funding is provided as a fixed annual contribution to the cost of an agreed number of full-time equivalent (FTE) positions and a manager, where warranted.
- My Department also funds a Public Participation Network in every Local Authority area, with special representation for local social inclusion groups, including those advocating for people with disabilities.