Fianna Fáil Health spokesperson Stephen Donnelly says that a proposed cut of €20 million to disability services must be stopped.

“Last week while the Cabinet applauded itself on holding a special meeting on disability issues, the HSE wrote to disability organisations nationwide to inform them that they were reducing their budgets as ‘efficiency’ savings of 1%.  This is part of the 2020 HSE Service Plan approved by Cabinet last month.

“Taken in the round it amounts to a €20 million cut in disability services which will overwhelmingly be borne by the voluntary bodies that provide such services.

“I am absolutely staggered that the government should impose such a cut on a voluntary sector that are already enduring a funding crisis. For many organisations this additional burden could stretch them to breaking point.

“Be under no illusion, this will reduce services for people with disabilities. It will mean reduced respite. It will hit people with intellectual disabilities. It is just wrong.

“If Fine Gael want to achieve ‘efficiencies’ maybe they should look to the management structure of the HSE. From June to November last year at a time when there was an effective recruitment embargo on frontline health staff, the HSE recruited two new managers a week.”

“The bottom line is that this cut must be withdrawn. If after the general election Fianna Fail is in a position to do so, this cut will be withdrawn.”