Dáil Éireann - Volume 475 - 05 March, 1997

Written Answers. - Independent Living Fund.

92. Dr. Moffatt asked the Minister for Health the progress, if any, which has been made regarding [1776] funding for independent living; and if he will make a statement regarding a letter (details supplied). [6155/97]

Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan, Limerick East): The establishment of an independent living fund has been proposed to me by the Centre for Independent Living as a means of funding a personal assistance service to enable people with disabilities to live independently in the community. The development of a personal assistance service was examined by the advisory group on personal assistance. While it did not recommend the establishment of an independent living fund, it recommended that funding of a personal assistance service should be considered in the context of the development of support services generally for people with disabilities.

The report of the review group on health and personal social services for people with physical and sensory disabilities, Towards and Independent Future, which was published last December, recommended, inter alia, that funding deficits for existing services be addressed in the first instance. An additional £2.188 million was built into the health board allocations in 1997 to help put the services on a more secure financial footing and to enable some services initiated in 1996 to be further developed. Of this funding, £200,000 was provided for the development of existing personal assistance services. A further £1 million in revenue funding for the development of services for people with physical and sensory disabilities is being provided in 1997. Discussions are taking place between officials of my Department and the health boards as to the priorities in service development for the allocation of these funds. The personal assistance service is one of those under consideration.