Personalised budgets for people with disabilities are 'the way forward' - Finian McGrath

Campaigners have suggested that people with disabilities are losing out under a ‘one size fits all’ funding model

Personalised budgets for people with disabilities are 'the way forward' - Finian McGrath

Finian McGrath. Image: RollingNews.ie

Disability campaigners are calling on the Government to reform how funding is provided to the sector.

The issue is topping the agenda at a health conference in Dublin today.

Down Syndrome Ireland and Inclusion Ireland say that the current 'one size fits all' system means that many people with special needs lose out.

The organisers say that an alternative model of personal budgets offers "flexibility and [empowers] people to make decisions about their own lives and move away from the outdated model of funding being locked in traditional services".

Disabilities Minister Finian McGrath is attending the conference to discuss the Government’s proposal to establish a taskforce on personal budgets.

He says it is something he fought to have included in the Programme for Government.

He added that it is important the people with disabilities have quality services, suggesting "these personalised, individualised budgets are the way forward".

Pat Clarke is the CEO of the Down Syndrome Ireland, and told Newstalk Breakfast that "there is no choice in what is available to people with disabilities once they go into adult services.

"When you think that almost three quarters of all the funding that goes to the disability sector goes to day care centres and residential centres, there is no choice and there is nothing there for individual aspirations and what the individual wants," he explained.