Fine Gael published their manifesto today and as part of my review of the party’s manifestos here is the section on disability. (Pg. 33)
Fine Gael will ensure that the quality of life for people with disabilities is enhanced and that resources allocated reach the people who need them. To achieve this, we must reform the delivery of public service to bring about the back room savings that will protect front line services
8.1 Income Support and Independence
Income Support: We will retain disability and blind payments at the current rate. Fine Gael will also facilitate people with disabilities in achieving a greater level of participation in employment, training and education.
Personal Budgets: Fine Gael will give adults and children with disabilities and their families the option of needs-based Personal Care Budgets so that they have much greater choice and control over the services they need. Personal budgets introduce greater transparency and efficiency in funding so that service providers only get paid for the services they deliver.
8.2 International Obligations
UN Convention: In order to make sure that the legislation on decision making is clear and that the rights of people with disabilities are protected and promoted, Fine Gael will update the mental capacity legislation as quickly as possible to allow for the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
8.3 Improved Services for People with Disabilities
Disability Strategy: Following consultation with all stakeholders, Fine Gael will publish a realistic implementation plan for the National Disability Strategy, including the Disability Act, EPSEN Act and sectoral plans, which will include achievable timescales and targets. We will ensure whole-of-government involvement and monitoring of the Strategy, in partnership with the disability sector.
Irish Sign Language: Fine Gael will examine different mechanisms to enhance the recognition of Irish Sign Language.
Standards and Inspection: Fine Gael will ensure that national standards apply to residential services for adults and children with disabilities and that these are independently inspected by the Health Information and Quality Authority.
Transparency: Fine Gael will ensure that money spent on disability services under the National Disability Strategy will be clearly laid out and audited.
Universal Design: In planning legislation, Fine Gael will promote and support universal design whereby all environments can be used to the greatest extent possible by all people, regardless of age, ability or disability.
Sinn Fein published their manifesto last week
Reviewing the current Disability Act with a view to the introduction of a new rightsbased Disability Act alongside robust enforcement mechanisms and establish a Disability Ombudsman and a National Disability Strategy within the Department of the Taoiseach to set annual targets towards full delivery by 2016.
Introduce a Cost of Disability Payment on a phased basis, to offset extra costs related to disability and in recognition of disproportionate rates of poverty and unemployment among people with disabilities.
A major pilot study on direct payments to include individuals from across the disability spectrum. Define people’s qualifications for personal assistance services, supporting independent living for disabled people, and regulate in law the provision of these services to ensure proper standards.