Speech by Minister Tim O´Malley at the opening of Enable Ireland/Barnardos Resource Information Library

Ladies and Gentlemen

I am delighted to be here this afternoon to open this Resource Information Library which has been established as a joint partnership between Enable Ireland and Barnardos.

I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Enable Ireland and Barnardos.

Enable Ireland has a long and impressive record of achievements in the provision of services to people with disabilities.

Since its establishment as Cerebral Palsy Ireland in 1948, this organisation has been to the forefront in the development of rehabilitation, education, training and employment services to people with disabilities.

Barnardos is another organisation with a long and impressive record of achievements. The name Barnardos is synonymous with the care and protection of our nations children since the organisation first became active in the early 1960’s. Their ethos, which is enshrined in their mission statement is that they will promote and respect the rights and best interests of children. Barnardos work with children in the firm belief that early intervention and finding solutions to problems before they grow, is vital. Each year Barnardos work with over 5,000 children and their families throughout Ireland.

Barnardos has shown itself to be a hugely effective organisation in its forward planning approach to areas such as: –

  • Family Support Services;
  • Springboard Family Support Projects;
  • Bereavement Counselling for children;
  • Adoption advice; and in
  • The development of resource centers, to name but a few.

Barnardos approach is to work collaboratively with children, parents and other agencies, both statutory, voluntary and community, when assessing needs and developing appropriate service responses. I know that Barnardos work closely with Health Boards throughout the country. The initiative which I am launching today is a good example of how Barnardos work with other agencies.

Today is therefore an extremely important day. It is a first for both Enable Ireland and Barnardos in their partnership approach to the establishment of this important and valuable Resource Information Library here in Tallaght. It is also important because the specialist library and resource information service is for people with disabilities who avail of the services of Enable Ireland and for everyone involved in the provision of services for people with disabilities.

The library will greatly enhance Enables Ireland´s work in providing information on disabilities for the local community with whom they are building links as part of their policy of inclusion and integration. It is also particularly timely in light of the fact that this is the European Year of People with Disabilities.

The library includes a range of books aimed at assisting children explore and understand issues pertinent to them as well as books relevant to families and resource material on disability issues, legislation and medical conditions.

The resource centre is also equipped with a dedicated computer with Internet access, which will be available to both service users and staff for research purposes.

I would also like to take this opportunity to reiterate the Government’s commitment to ongoing investment in services for people with physical and sensory disabilities. Since 1997, additional funding of over €200 million has been provided for the maintenance and development of health services for people with physical and sensory disabilities. Despite problems in the current economic climate, the ongoing element of this funding emphasises this Government´s commitment to the continued development of services to people with physical and sensory disabilities to live as independently as possible within the community.

I very much welcome the opening of this library and I would urge every person with an interest in the provision of services for people with disabilities to avail of this facility and to contribute to its success.

Thank you.