Published on 1 March 2023
Last updated on 2 March 2023
- responsibility for specialist Disability services transfers from the Department of Health to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, effective 1 March 2023
- the transfer will provide new opportunities to continue work on improved policy development, service provision and the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)
The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, today (1 March 2023) confirmed that responsibility for specialist disability services has transferred from the Department of Health to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.
These specialist disability services are provided by the HSE and a range of other providers to children and adults in residential, day and respite settings, as well as children’s therapy services, personal assistance, home support and other community services and supports. All other health and social care services ordinarily available to people with disabilities will continue to be supported and provided as before.
Bringing together for the first time responsibility for coordinating and steering all-of-government policy promoting the equal participation in society of people with disabilities, policy responsibility for specialist disability services alongside cross-government coordination provides an opportunity to drive strategic policy development, investment and reform.
Speaking today, Minister O’Gorman said:
“I strongly believe that the location of disability policy and specialist community-based disability services in a single department is a significant opportunity to strengthen strategic policy development across Government and move us closer to achieving a more equal society. Building on the work undertaken in the Department of Health, the transfer will facilitate the transition from a medical model of support towards a holistic, rights-based approach that supports people with disabilities to live autonomously, in line with Ireland’s commitments under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).”
Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Disabilities, Minister Rabbitte said:
“I am happy to see the transfer of functions of specialist community-based disability services to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. This is a significant opportunity for better integration and cohesion in driving forward with improvements in disability services and I look forward to working with Minister O’Gorman, HSE colleagues, and department officials on this ambition.”
The HSE will retain responsibility for the delivery of specialist disability services. The transfer of functions will require the HSE to report to two different Ministers for different elements of its functions. As part of the transfer of functions process, a proportion of the budget of the Department of Health, circa €2.6 bilion, will transfer to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.
There has been in-depth engagement between the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, the Department of Health, the HSE and other relevant stakeholders to deliver this transfer and this close cooperation will continue post transfer to ensure specialist disability services are further strengthened.
Specialist disability services include services related to physical, sensory and intellectual disability and autism.
The services transferring encompass a range of community supports for persons with a disability, details of which can be found here – HSE.
The transfer of policy, functions and funding for specialist disability services from the Minister for Health to the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth is provided for by the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2022.
S.I. No. 688 of 2022 Specialist Community-Based Disability Services (Transfer of Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions) Order 2022 was signed by Taoiseach Micheál Martin on 13 December 2022 with an operational date of 1 March 2023.
The UNCRPD is intended as a human rights instrument with an explicit, social development dimension. It adopts a broad categorisation of persons with disabilities and reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms.