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Disability Strategy - lack of progress
[Posted: Wed 14/05/2008 www.irishhealth.com]
The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) has expressed serious concern about the lack of progress being made regarding the implementation of the National Disability Strategy.
According to the federation, it is concerned about the general lack of progress being made in reaching the strategy’s key objectives, as well as the potential impact of the recent downturn in the economy.
The strategy was published in 2004, however in the Programme for Government published in 2007, a commitment was made to ensure that at least half of the strategy would be implemented by 2010.
“Our national leaders made this commitment and understandably raised expectations of the disability support organisations and their service users all around the country. At the present rate of progress, it is not possible that half of the strategy will be implemented by 2010 and at this time we are having difficulty establishing what exactly can be achieved by 2010”, commented John Dolan, chief executive of the DFI.
Mr Dolan said that the Programme for Government had committed to ‘setting out objectives and outcomes’ for the sector, but this had not happened. Furthermore, the federation is aware that some funds ‘set out’ for the sector have been diverted to other health sectors.
“This is totally unacceptable. The Government has committed to continue to prioritise its commitment to people with disability over the next five years and notwithstanding the changed economic environment, we are insisting that there is no reneging on this commitment”, he said.
Mr Dolan added that there has been a significant amount of ‘goal setting’ by the Government, but very little action has taken place.
“We sincerely hope that a more positive outlook for the sector will emerge in the coming weeks from the office of Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, whose department has an overall role in ensuring the implementation of the National Disability Strategy”, he said.
Mr Dolan made his comments at the DFI’s annual general meeting in Dublin.
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