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Inclusion Ireland attended the National Advocacy Service’s (NAS) 2017 Annual Report and strategic plan launch in Croke Park.
NAS National Manager Louise Loughlin spoke about the work NAS have been doing in 2017 and how the issues of housing, health and justice took up the majority of their enquiries.
She talked about the priorities for the NAS over the next 3 years:
- Delivering an efficient and effective advocacy service
- Establishing standards for advocacy
- Influencing national policy on advocacy
The launch included speakers Joanne O Riordan and P.J. Harrington who spoke about their different experiences of disability and the importance of advocacy in both their lives.
Also in attendance was the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty. Minister Doherty spoke of the importance of NAS and the advocacy services they provide and of the need for NAS to have more statutory powers. The Minister commented that her department will be looking into making legislative change in relation to this in 2019.
Minister Doherty also referenced the work her department is doing to support people with disabilities, and in particular mentioned that they hope to start work on research into the cost of disability early next year. The Minister said she wants the research to look at “the wide spectrum“ of disability and that she hopes this piece of research will help inform the next Budget – Budget 2020.