In an initial response to the publication of the report of the Task Force on Personalised Budgets, Fianna Fáil’s Disability Spokesperson, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony said, “I welcome the publication of this long awaited report. It is very comprehensive and I compliment the Task Force for their work.

Deputy Murphy O’Mahony added, “It is very welcome that the recommendations are not limited to a one size fits all approach but proposes a range of options for personalised budgets suitable to the individual and their needs.

“While the Taskforce has recommended that its proposals undergo a testing and planning phase, I am urging the Government not to allow such as period slow down improvements that can be made in the here and now.

“I, like many disability service providers, am concerned that none of the demonstration projects will involve children’s services. This is a mistake in my opinion.

“Whatever happens I believe it is essential that the testing projects should not take away from addressing current growing needs.  We should not hold off, for example, on increasing Personal Assistance hours in Budget 2019 because of this. Nor should we neglect the need to tackle the appalling waiting times that many children with disabilities are enduring for essential assessments.

“Minister McGrath needs to ensure that the pilot projects go hand in hand with an expansion of existing services. There must be a real urgency demonstrated by Minister McGrath is delivering improvements for people with disabilities,” concluded Murphy O’Mahony.