Taoiseach indicates increased funding for people with disabilities

Micheál Martin says situation for disabled people continues to worsen year after year

Leo Varadkar: ‘I am sure we will find additional funding for disability services next year.’ File photograph Brian Lawless/PA

Leo Varadkar: ‘I am sure we will find additional funding for disability services next year.’ File photograph Brian Lawless/PA

 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has indicated there will be increased funding for people with disabilities in next week’s budget.

Mr Varadkar said he acknowledged there were lots of shortcomings and problems in the sector and more needed to be done.

“Obviously, that is something that is going to have to form part of the budget and the estimates process,’’ he added.

“I am sure we will find additional funding for disability services next year as we did last year.’’

The Taoiseach was replying in the Dáil on Wednesday to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin who said the situation for people with disabilities continued to worsen year after year.

Listen to Inside Politics

Mr Martin said access to therapies was simply appalling, respite care was very poor, as were opportunities for work.

The consistent poverty rate was up from 14 per cent to 22 per cent, he added.

Living in poverty and social exclusion was particularly difficult for people with disabilities, Mr Martin said.

Mr Varadkar said it was important to acknowledge some of the progress made.

For example, he added, there had been a €90 million increase in the budget for disability services last year, which was quite significant.

There had been a 34 per cent increase in people with disabilities accessing education, he added.

Mr Martin said there was a disappointing complacency in the Taoiseach’s response.

Mr Varadkar said everybody on the Government benches was doing their best to assist people with disabilities at constituency and ministerial level.

No party had a monopoly on compassion, he added.