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Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 20 May 2020

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Questions (817)

Carol Nolan


817. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health the engagements he has had with the voluntary disability organisations as part of the response to Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7034/20]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

In response to requests to the Ministers’ office, Ministers (Harris and McGrath) had separate video meetings with Inclusion Ireland and Enable Ireland on 27 April.

Further meetings are scheduled with the Disability Federation of Ireland, the National Federation of Voluntary Service Providers, Disability Coalition and the National Council for the Blind Ireland.

HSE Disability Operations hold weekly telecons with a number of key stakeholders representing the interest of service users and their families, as well as provider organisations. These forums take the form of teams with each having specific and identified work streams. Taking this approach ensures that there is two-way communication as well as working groups with assigned tasks in response to the COVID-19 emergency.

(1) Provider/Service User Organisation COVID 19 Team which has representatives from;

- Disability Federation of Ireland

- Not for Profit Association

- Federation of Voluntary Bodies


(2) Family, Service User and Carer Representatives from:

- Inclusion Ireland

- Carers Ireland


There is active engagement and joint working between HSE and the above representative bodies in terms of linkage with other essential HSE shared services. For example, HSE is actively supporting their respective “helplines” in response to COVID-19 and have already networked these providers with that of ‘Alone’ and their newly established helpline under COVID-19. HSE advises that all disability providers maintain strong communication links with families. In this regard, where an outbreak of COVID 19 is confirmed families are contacted and kept informed of their loved ones’ medical status.

Under the governance of the HSE’s National Integrated Operations Hub chaired by the Chief Operations Officer, Disability Operations has a team in place with the responsibility for providing supports and capacity building training for the sector in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, a range of guidance material has been developed. The following web link is the central repository for disability specific guidance material during the  COVID 19 emergency:

It contains guidance on:

1. Alternative models of care (non-residential)

2. Streamlined hospital passport for people with disabilities who are admitted to hospital

3. Use of PPE in Disability Services

4. Supporting adults in a community residence/at home

5. Supporting children in a community residence/at home

In addition, a series of “webinar” training modules to assist frontline staff during the COVID 19 emergency period are available.