I am happy to inform the Deputy that significant expenditure is being committed by individual Departments in support of the Government's objective of enabling Ireland to fulfil its obligations with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ('the Convention') by responding to the needs of persons with disabilities. For example, €1.7bn was spent by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection on Disability Allowance payments in 2019. Just over €2.054bn has been allocated in the HSE Service Plan for disability-related expenditure this year. Funding for special education provision in 2020 will amount to €1.9bn which is equivalent to 20% of the gross overall current allocation for education and training.
In respect of compliance with the Convention the Government's approach is one of progressive realisation. Work is continuing on the reforms needed for an optimum level of compliance with the Convention's requirements. The National Disability Inclusion Strategy (NDIS) 2017 – 2021 is the mechanism by which the joined-up working to deliver on Ireland’s commitments to implementing the Convention will be delivered. The NDIS Steering Group, which oversees and monitors the implementation of the Strategy, has an important role in guiding progress in this area. The Group recently carried out a mid-term review of the Strategy which examined how the Strategy is aligned with the articles of the Convention and how the Strategy could be revised and built upon in order to continue progressive realisation of the aims of the Convention. Arising from the midterm review, a commitment was made that my Department will develop an implementation plan, that will include monitoring structures and metrics as appropriate.
As this is a function that is due to transfer, it will of course be a matter for my colleague, Mr. Roderic O'Gorman, T.D., the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, to bring this matter forward.