Press Release

Minister O´Malley attends National Launch of European Year of the Disabled

Mr. Tim O´Malley T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children this morning (Tuesday, 28th January 2003) attended the National Launch of the European Year of the Disabled.

Mr O´Malley stated that “this Government is committed to providing funding and investment to services for persons with physical and sensory disabilities. Prior to 1997, the level of ongoing funding available for health related services for people with physical or sensory disabilities was in the region of€90m. Since then additional ongoing funding of just over€113m has been provided for the maintenance and development of the services. This level of additional funding has enabled substantial progress to be made with regard to the development of residential, respite, day, therapy and other services and has greatly increased the quality and quantity of the services which are available.”

“In addition, the Department of Health and Children, in conjunction with the Health Research Board, health boards and voluntary organisations are currently compiling a database of health service requirements of people with physical and sensory disabilities. When the database is complete it will provide a comprehensive planning tool for the Department and the health boards to identify accurately the level of investment required to plan and deliver health services in an effective and efficient manner.”

Services for Persons with an Intellectual Disability and Those with Autism

“In respect of services for people with Intellectual Disability or Autism, between 1997 and 2002 additional revenue and capital funding amounting to just under €327 million (€188m revenue and €139m capital) has been provided for the maintenance and development of services to persons with an intellectual disability and those with autism. The National Intellectual Disability Database indicated that in 1996, 85.5% (22,804 persons) of the population of people with an intellectual disability were known to be in receipt of services. By 2000, this had increased to 89.8%(24,035 persons).”

Developments to end of 2002 are summarised as follows:

Area Progress up to 2002
Residential Care Between 1997 and 2002, around 1,700 additional residential places (mainly community based) have been provided. This figure would include new residential respite places developed in 1997 and 1998.
Residential Respite Care Between 1999 and 2002, around 465 dedicated respite places were provided.
Day Care Between 1997 and 2002, around 2,950 new day places were provided.
Programme to transfer persons with an intellectual disability or autism from psychiatric hospitals or other inappropriate settings. This programme provides alternative placements and/or an enhanced level of services for this group. The number of persons accommodated in psychiatric hospitals in October 2002 was 452. This is down from 970 in 1996, and down from 503 in December 2002. The new accommodation provided has included community based homes and a number of residential and day complexes.
Health Related Support Services for Children Since 1998 approximately €14.6m has been allocated to enhance the early intervention, pre-school and multi-disciplinary support services for children with an intellectual disability and those with autism.
Specialist Support Services Between 1999 and 2002, additional funding of €11.43m was provided to enable health boards to put in place a range of support services for persons with an intellectual disability or autism who present with major behavioural problems and require a more intensive level of support.

Additional revenue funding amounting to €13.3m has been allocated to these services in 2003 to meet full year costs associated with the 2002 development programme and to further enhance the health related support services available to children with an intellectual disability or autism.

Training and Allowances

The following amounts have been provided since 1998 as additional once off funding for the procurement of aids and appliances to people with physical disabilities:

1999 £5m
2000 £5m
2001 £5m
2002 €6.8m
2003 €6.3m


The following percentages are the budgetary increases for disability related allowances/grants since 1999:

1999 4.25%
2000 5.44%
2001 10.32%
2002 9.43%
2003 5.05%

In addition to these increases additional amounts totalling€9m have been provided to amend the rate of Respite Care Grant for people not in receipt of the grant from Dept. of Social and Family Affairs (Carers Allowance recipients), and to amend certain qualifying criteria for Mobility Allowance and Domiciliary Care Allowance.