Minister Doherty launches ‘Poverty & Disability’ booklet

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Monday, 20th November, 2017: Employment and Social Affairs Minister, Regina Doherty, T.D. today launched the booklet ‘Poverty and Disability; A public-friendly guide to economic inequality and the cost of disability’. The booklet has been prepared by Inclusion Ireland to raise awareness, and provide information, about the issue of poverty and disability for people with intellectual and other disabilities, and their supporters. 

The Minister acknowledged Inclusion Ireland’s initiative to produce the booklet.  “People with disabilities are among the groups most at risk of poverty and deprivation in Ireland.  This is something that was acknowledged in the 2007 National Action Plan for Social Inclusion and its update, which reaches the end of its life this year.  That 10-year plan recognised the specific difficulties experienced by people with disabilities on entering and remaining in the labour market and accessing quality services.  A range of actions were put in place to help address those challenges.  Unfortunately the financial crisis, and the constraints it imposed on all of us, meant that many of the changes that the plan aspired to could not be fully achieved.”

The Minister spoke about the “Ability” programme that she and the Minister of State with special responsibility for Disabilities, Finian McGrath, launched in September.  This programme will bring young people with disabilities who are not work- ready closer to the labour market through training and personal development activities. The programme, which is co-funded by the Irish Exchequer and the European Social Fund, will invest around €10 million over a three-year period.  Information sessions about the programme take place this month, and the application process will start in early December. 

Minister Doherty also spoke about the next National Action Plan for Social Inclusion which is currently being developed. It will be informed by feedback from consultation events such as the annual Social Inclusion Forum; the Make Work Pay for people with disabilities; the annual Pre-Budget Forum hosted by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, and regional workshops that took place earlier this year.  There will also be an online public consultation process later this year. The Minister recommended that people who have disabilities, and those working with them, should use the facility to articulate their views.   

The Minister said: “People experiencing poverty or deprivation face daily challenges and live with the constant, inescapable burden of worry and fear. Our economy is improving, the number of people in employment is increasing, and incomes are rising. We have the opportunity now to ensure that all members of Irish society will benefit from these improved circumstances.

“My intention is that the new National Action Plan will clearly set out how this will be achieved”, the Minister said.

Last modified:24/11/2017