Cil Representatives meet Minister Burton

L-R: Gary Lee, Tom King, Minister Joan Burton and Michael McCabe

Michael McCabe, Tom King and Gary Lee all of CIL Carmichael House met with Joan Burton, the Minister for Social Protection this morning.  The meeting, which lasted over an hour, was both positive and constructive.  The Minister acknowledged that the communication of certain budgetary provisions could have been better and that the Government was now clarifying a number of matters.  As we knew prior to the meeting, the cuts to the disability allowance are being reviewed however they have not yet been formally discarded. The Minister discussed in detail planned  reforms which have been necessitated by the financial difficulties the State is in together with its obligations to the EU/IMF. However, included in these obligations, as has been pointed out by CIL, are the State’s obligations to the vulnerable in society.
The majority of CILs reported to us that they would have serious difficulties were the CE payments for training & materials cut by €1,000.  The Minister was presented with a report prepared by CIL CMH which detailed how each CIL would be affected. CIL CMH outlined the work being done on the ground and the severe impact the withdrawal of CIL from the CE scheme would have not only to the CE participants but also to the community.  Minister Burton has assured us that the proposed 66% cut will not occur immediately, that this is the maximum cut and that each scheme will be assessed on its own merits. Viable CE schemes would not lose out; the Minister said that her department would meet any shortfall incurred as a result of budgetary cuts. 

“In the event that the reduction in the training and material grant announced in the Budget creates financial difficulties for schemes that would otherwise be viable, my Department will be in a position to fund such schemes from within the overall Department Vote.” Joan Burton, Minister for Social Protection

In other words CIL CE schemes will be assessed and decisions will be made only after this assessment – monies won’t be cut in the meantime.
To repeat, the Minister informed us that THERE WILL NOT BE A BLANKET CUT.  However, each CE scheme will be reviewed on the following basis:

  • Services provided
  • Experience for the participant
  • Value for money

The Minister will set this out in an email to CIL CMH in the coming days.
Separate from its pre-budget submission which was delivered on 15 October 2011, CIL CMH had written to the Taoiseach on 30 November last warning Government regarding dangers in the budget – CIL warned of the very matters that  proved problematical however our concerns were not examined.  CIL is the only national pan-disability movement governed by people with disabilities. The Minister has given a commitment to bringing CIL onto the consultative process with the Department of Social Welfare, this will put us in a good position to join in consultative processes with other Government departments at the very highest level.
The above is by way of update just to let you know how the meeting, a further more detailed account will be sent to you in the coming days.