Written Answers. - Services for People with Disabilities.

Breeda Moynihan-Cronin

Question:

341 Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the total amount of funding allocated by his Department for the provision of payments, facilities or services for those with physical or intellectual disabilities in 2003, giving the heading or sub-heading in the estimates under which the allocation has been made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19525/03]

I can inform the Deputy that whereas my Department provides a focal point for disability equality policy and legislative development generally it does not have responsibility for the delivery or funding of services directly to people with disabilities.

However, I would like to advise the Deputy that the following allocations have been provided in the 2003 Estimates. Some €3.351million has been allocated under subhead Q to enhance the existing statutory foundation for equality and develop and pursue equal opportunities and equal access policies for people with disabilities.

Some €4.766 million has been allocated under subhead T – National Disability Authority. As the Deputy will be aware, the National Disability Authority is an independent statutory body whose principal function is to advise my Department and keep me informed of developments in relation to any disability of persons which concerns issues of policy and practice.
I would also like to advise the Deputy that my Department also provides funding to the Equality Authority under subhead J1 and to the Office of the Director of Equality Investigations – ODEI, the Equality Tribunal – under subhead J2.
The functions of the Equality Authority are to work towards the elimination of discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity on the nine grounds covered by the equality legislation – the Employment Equality Act 1998 and the Equal Status Act 2000 – including the ground of disability. The authority also provides information and advice to the public on the legislation. The ODEI – the Equality Tribunal – provides the main focus of redress of first instance for the cases arising under the nine grounds of the equality legislation, including the ground of disability. It is not possible to give a breakdown as to the amount spent by the authority or the Office of the Director of Equality Investigation – ODEI – under each ground.
I can further inform the Deputy that under subhead S.1 a sum of €156,183 has been allocated to two organisations supporting people with physical or intellectual disabilities. The organisations concerned are St. John of God, Kildare services –€75,840 – and the National Training and Development Institute, Dublin –€80,343.
The St. John of God project aims to teach women with mild learning disability to understand interpersonal relationships and thereby progress to working in the community. The National Training Institute project aims to train women with disabilities to participate in a leadership programme to develop a national network for women with disabilities that will promote their concerns in respect of education, training and employment. Both organisation are being funded over a three year period to develop pilot initiatives under the equality for women measure of the national development plan. The funding commenced in 2001 and is scheduled to conclude in 2004.