Thomas Pringle TD
The Government has been slammed for abolishing the Rehabilitative Training Allowance.
Independent TD for Donegal Thomas Pringle has this week slammed the move calling it a “callous act on those most vulnerable and most in need of disability supports”.
Speaking on the issue Deputy Pringle said: “I’ve been inundated with emails from constituents who are rightly concerned at the removal of this allowance. Many recipients are disappointed and concerned at the decision by the HSE to abolish the Rehabilitative Training Allowance from September 1st, for people with disabilities, who are applying to do a rehabilitative training programme this year. This means they will not get €31.80 a week while they are on the programme. This may not seem like a lot but for someone with a disability and receiving slim pickings from the Government as it is, it’s a lot”.
“I wrote to the HSE and received a lengthy justification stating the elimination of the allowance was not a cost-saving exercise and that it will not negatively impact on any adult with a disability as the money will be put into disability day services. I disagree and believe this is a cost-saving initiative due to ongoing cost overruns in the health service. The total sum of €3.7m may be invested in disability day services but this does not mean that subsequent funding in the future will be curtailed to save on future budgetary projections.
“Furthermore, it is entirely unclear how this sum of money will be invested in disability day services and whether new entrants will in fact benefit from the money deferred from the Rehabilitative Training Allowance to other disability services. It also seems this move was done unilaterally and without prior consultation with disability advocacy groups.
“This move will restrict many of those who could benefit hugely from the Rehabilitative Training Programme which has been helping young people who are coming out of school or a service, to gain independence. Due to the fact that they have a disability, they need more help to enter the labour market and this allowance helps them.
“We really need to question why it is that every time there’s a cost overrun, mismanagement of capital programmes or an economic downturn that disability supports are the first to be targeted. Why did the Minister for Disabilities and the HSE sign off on something that would have positively impacted on people with disabilities. This is a callous move and one which is directly in contravention of Ireland’s ratification of the UNCPRD and I call on the Minister and the HSE to immediately reverse this decision” concludes Pringle.”