Inclusion Ireland and Down Syndrome Ireland host successful Personal Budgets seminar

Inclusion Ireland and Down Syndrome Ireland have demanded that a proposed Government taskforce - which will investigate giving people with disabilities access to their own funding -  be set up as ‘a matter of urgency’. 

The two organisations hosted a Personal Budgets Seminar at the Gibson Hotel, Point Village, Dublin 1 on Monday, May 30th and have called for a cross-departmental approach to be taken across health, social protection and justice & equality to the proposed Government taskforce on personal budgets.

More than 200 people – many of whom are parents and carers of people with disabilities – who gathered at the seminar heard from Minister of State for Disabilities Finian McGrath TD that a “seismic shift is needed in how disability services are provided and funded”.

There are currently 600,000 people with disabilities in Ireland. Under the current ‘one size fits all’ model, funding is allocated to several large disability service providers for people with disabilities in residential and day care settings. The person has little or no say in how the money is used. 

Many of the 200 delegates spoke of their frustration and anger at how their loved ones are left languishing in unsuitable services and settings that are not catered towards their needs.

The welcoming address was delivered by Paddy Connolly (CEO Inclusion Ireland) and the opening remarks were delivered by Pat Clarke (CEO Down Syndrome Ireland).

Other speakers included Padraic Fleming (NUI Maynooth) who will explain the background of personal budgets and Rachel Cassen (LEAP) will look at enabling people to have good lives. Avril Webster and Rita Walsh will offer the parents’ perspective while Martin Naughton (AT Network) and Dr Sinead Keogh (NUI Galway) will offer practical experience of personalised budgets and direct payments.

Speakers from the UK will include Julie Stansfield (CEO In Control) and Dr Simon Duffy (Director of Centre for Welfare Reform).

Speaker Presentations 

Padraic Fleming

Rachel Cassen

Julie Stansfield

*If you are looking for other presentations from the day, please email cormac[at] 

Video Content 

Paddy Connolly

Pat Clarke

Padraic Fleming

Rachel Cassen

Rita Walsh

Avril Webster

Martin Naughton & Dr Sinead Keogh

Julie Stansfield 

Simon Duffy

Minister for Disabilities Finian McGrath

Press Coverage

Paddy Connolly on RTE This Week

Paddy Connolly on RTE News at One

Pat Clarke and Finian McGrath on Newstalk

Coverage on UTV Ireland website

Coverage in The Irish Times

More information

Official Press Release: Personal Budgets Seminar

Personal Budgets Seminar Running Order