Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) welcomes the publication of the Government’s Disability Action plan as a recognition that significant work still needs to be done to bring disability services up to standard under UNCRPD.

However, there is disappointment with the lack of ambition and that many of the measures are to develop more plans or new reports. People with disabilities are well aware of the changes that are needed, and real action needs to be implemented, not further report writing.

IWA welcomes the addition of 800,000 hours of PA supports and targets for day, residential and home supports. However, the association questions the continued workforce constraints in providing these hours. These additional hours would require over 400 full time new positions and as IWA has highlighted on countless previous occasions, the wider sector is losing staff at a huge rate directly due to a lack of pay parity with their HSE colleagues.

IWA’s Acting CEO Chris Hoey says: “Unless pay parity is restored, these constraints will remain and while the hours may be available, staff may not be available to deliver them.”

As highlighted by our colleagues in the Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) the plan does not acknowledge or recognise that a central pillar of disability service provision is by voluntary organisations. IWA believes there was a missed opportunity to put partnership with the voluntary sector as a fundamental element of the plan.