Working for People with Sight Loss

Disability charities appeal to government to secure their funding and services in midst of Covid crisis

6th May 2020, A number of national charities providing vital services to thousands of adults and children with disabilities have appealed to the Government to ensure that their funding is secured this year and next, in light of the severe impact on their income as a result of the Covid 19 emergency.

The eight not for profit organisations, all of whom are household names, have formed themselves into The Disability Action Coalition to campaign for a secure future for their services for people with physical, intellectual, sensory and mental health disabilities.

The Coalition hosted an Online Lobby for members of the Oireachtas today (Wednesday 6th May) to appeal to them for support for a special fund to fill part of the massive gap in their income, which will threaten their services, as well as a guarantee their HSE funding will be secured, this year and next year.

Eight CEO’s gathered to brief members of the new Dáil and Seanad and appeal for their support.

Rosemary Keogh, Chairperson of the Coalition and CEO of the Irish Wheelchair Association, said disability service providers have risen to the challenge posed by the Covid crisis in an extraordinary way.

“Among our membership there has been only a handful of cases of Covid-19, which is a real tribute to the extraordinary commitment of our staff to ensure the vulnerable people who use our services have been protected from the ravages of the pandemic. It is also a witness to the fact that as not-for-profit organisations, our commitment is to ensure that we deliver the highest quality service to many very vulnerable people and support for their families,” she said.

“We have also worked in partnership with the HSE, following guidelines, operating to best practice, and sharing our resources including our buildings, our transport and our staff.”

“Despite this, we have no guarantee the funding we need to continue to deliver services, is guaranteed. Before the outbreak, our funding for 2020 had already been cut by 1% across the board and despite appeals to reverse this cut, it is still being made.  Our fundraised income has fallen off a cliff and some of us will be down about 30%. We have closed our shops and let staff go, and even when they return, we may not be able to replace the income from this source.”

The Coalition is asking for a special fund to be set up to support organisations whose income has been badly hit, and for a guarantee that HSE funding will be secure both this year and next.

They also want the security of their organisations, which are funded under Section 39 of the Health Act, to be included in the Programme for Government as an issue to be resolved by the next Government.

-ENDS-

Note to Editors:

The Disability Action Coalition is Irish Wheelchair Association, Enable Ireland, Cheshire Ireland, Chime, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, MS Ireland, Rehab Group and National Council for the Blind of Ireland.

**Spokespeople are available**