Down Syndrome Ireland is committed to helping people with Down syndrome live as independent lives as possible and as such, we welcome the overall commitment to person-centred disability services. However, the new National Disability Inclusion Strategy outlines the Government’s plan to continue to stream funding through the HSE and existing disability service providers. This means supports for people to move from education into adult life will be managed by existing systems which will make implementing changes much harder. As such, people with disabilities and their families who do not wish to follow the established ‘service provision‘ model may continue to face overwhelming barriers from the very services that have been established to support them.
The new National Disability Inclusion Strategy has laudable goals – such as investing in Early Intervention Services, creating joined-up public services for people with disabilities and improving access to education and employment – however, there are few concrete targets with specific timeframes. In the five-year lifespan of the strategy, how many of these goals will receive sufficient funding and attention to make them a reality remains to be seen.
Down Syndrome Ireland is committed as always to improving the quality of life of our members and promoting respect and acceptance of people with Down syndrome as valued members of our society.
We will continue to lobby the Government and ensure that the needs of people with Down syndrome are addressed and our voices are heard. We will actively monitor the implementation of the strategy and will keep you informed of any updates.