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Ireland poised to embrace Personal Budgets

The Irish Times reports that the Minister of State for Disabilities Finian McGrath is keen to establish a taskforce to look at the provision of personal budgets for people with disabilities. 

McGrath made his views known at a personal budget seminar hosted by Inclusion Ireland and Down Syndrome Ireland in Dublin on Monday.

Inclusion Ireland Chief Executive Paddy Connolly said:

“Personal budgets offer flexibility and empower people to make decisions about their own lives and move away from outdated models where funding is locked in traditional services.

"The new Government taskforce on personalised budgets must deliver the necessary changes and ensure people with disabilities have more control and independence. It is imperative that this taskforce is established as a matter of urgency."

Down Syndrome Ireland Chief Executive Pat Clarke said:

“I have been on this journey with my son David and I, like many parents and people with disabilities, can attest to the frustration and anger we encounter when it comes to accessing suitable services. Individualised budgets will ensure that David, like thousands of other people with disabilities, will be able to make their own decisions about what they want to do with their lives."

Simon Duffy, Director of the Centre for Welfare Reform, attended the seminar and said:

"There is clearly a passionate commitment to and clear understanding of the value of personal budgets amongst people, families, academics and advocacy organisations. The challenge will be to overcome the innate resistance of service providers who may fear that they will lose out if people can choose their own support. I have every faith that some service providers will recognise that they have nothing to fear from being accountable to people and families. A powerful alliance for change appears to be emerging in Ireland."

The article in the Irish Times is available to read at:

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/mcgrath-hears-of-families-unhappiness-with-hse-disability-services-1.2666475

An overview of the personal budgets seminar is available on Inclusion Ireland's website here.

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