Budget 2024: Value us, value our supporters, see our potential

Budget 2024: Value us, value our supporters, see our potential

This pre-budget submission outlines recommendations from adults with disabilities attending the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC).  Focus groups were conducted and all contributions are included in this document.  Although our list is long, we feel strongly about what is needed to support people with disabilities and to help us live our best lives.

We want to be visible in our communities:

  1. Having a disability is expensive as we struggle to keep up with our day-to-day bills before we can think about going out and enjoying life. People with severe disabilities face a shortfall of between €9,600-€12,300 per annum and those with limited disabilities have a shortfall €8,700-€10,000 per annum which is not met by social welfare payments[1].
  2. More funding for personal assistant supports[2] is needed, as personal assistants are vital in supporting us to live independently, access education, employment and social activities. PA hours should also be available to people living in nursing homes.
  3. More funding to make our communities accessible, for example, more accessible toilets, better maintenance of community spaces, better lighting, and universal design of environments[3], including hotels as we want to take holidays too.
  4. Greater funding should be available to organisations to support people in their community and ensure people with disabilities have equal opportunities to attend concerts, shows and sporting events.
  5. More funding to make us feel safe in our communities, for example, more community guards and an increased presence in the community for vulnerable adults[4].

We want to live independently:

  1. There should be extra payments for those living alone and in receipt of a disability allowance as our benefits do not take into consideration the increased cost of living. We are finding it difficult to pay our fuel bills and buy food[5].
  2. Lack of housing availability and supports[6] needs to be addressed as many of us have been waiting several years for housing. People with disabilities can be waiting as long as ten years to find suitable housing.
  3. There are still 1,250 people with disabilities under the age of 65 living in nursing homes[7]. In many instances, this is not their choice.
  4. More care packages should be made available[8] to people with disabilities. A shortage of carers and care/support staff is a worry for us.  We have problems with carers turning up late, shifts not being covered and a high turnover of staff.  We do not think that carers are paid enough which means they do not stay in their jobs.
  5. Care packages to suit individual needs and preferences is needed, more respite opportunities should be available and more funding to build respite facilities[9]. All adults who participated in the focus groups remarked they struggled to find appropriate respite with adequate supports, for example, many towns outside Dublin have limited transport options.
  6. OT assessments for housing adaptions and wheelchairs have long waitlists for assessment, this needs to be quicker.

We want you to see our potential:


Irish research shows that people with a disability have lower levels of education compared to the non-disabled population.  We want to see:

  1. Better disability supports in mainstream education to include more disability-trained staff employed in primary, post-primary and further education.
  2. More progression options in further education (Level 4 and above) supporting people with disabilities.
  3. More choice of specialised programmes in further education for example social enterprises geared towards people with disabilities.



In Ireland just 36% of people with a disability are in employment, this is one of the lowest rates in Europe[10].  We want to see the following addressed:

  1. An equal right to work is our human right and this requires better awareness for employers to employ people with disabilities. We would like more action on this such as a nationwide education and advertising campaign to promote this.  More education is needed for employers on how to support people with disabilities in the workplace and information on the financial benefits they may receive by employing people with disabilities.
  2. Funding to support a pathway for meaningful employment to assist people with disabilities get jobs. If we have meaningful paid jobs, we will need fewer benefits.  We should not automatically lose benefits when working as this does not consider the additional cost of having a disability.
  3. CE Schemes should be better funded with more incentives for people with disabilities to participate.


Access to Services:

  1. Employ more staff across all departments in disability services. We think extra money should go to fund clinical staff working in the disability sector, for example, Occupational Therapy, Seating, Speech and Language and Physiotherapy to reduce the waiting list for people needing these additional services
  2. More staff to facilitate and support people with disabilities in line with their own Person-Centred Plans.
  3. We are concerned about waiting times for medical appointments, waiting times must be shorter.
  4. More access to mental health services as these services are under-resourced and staff do not always have experience supporting people with disabilities.   


[1] Indecon (2021) The Cost of Disability in Ireland, Indecon International Research Economists.

[2] Carroll, E., C. Mac Domhnaill and S. McCoy (2023). Personal assistance services for disabled people in Ireland: “They meet the criteria for supports but we don't have the resources to provide the services”, ESRI Working Paper 747, Dublin: ESRI

Carroll, E and S. McCoy (2022). Personal Assistance Services in Ireland: A Capability Approach to Understanding the Lived Experience of Disabled People, Disabilities, 2022, 2(4), 694-714

[3] Universal Design and Inclusion | NSAI

[4] Garda Síochána (2020) Online Garda Survey 2020, Amárach Research

[5] Indecon (2021) The Cost of Disability in Ireland, Indecon International Research Economists.

[6] Houses of the Oireachtas (2023) Joint Committee on Disability Matters: Aligning Disability Services with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Houses of the Oireachtas.

[7] (RTÉ via Freedom for Information, 2023)

[8] Department of Health (2021) Disability Capacity Review 2032-A Review of Social Care Demand and Capacity Requirements to 2032

[9] Respite Care Services: Motion [Private Members] – Dáil Éireann (33rd Dáil) – Wednesday, 22 Jun 2022 – Houses of the Oireachtas

[10] Kelly, E and Maitre, B (2021) Identification of Skills Gaps among Persons with Disabilities and their Employment Prospects, ESRI Survey and Statistical Report Series Number 107