Inclusion Ireland has called for a commitment from Government to move from the institutionalisation of people with intellectual disabilities.
The call from the national advocacy organisation for people with disabilities follows what it has described as "the strong message" in HIQA's Disability Overview Report 2021, published yesterday, "that life is better for people not living in group homes or larger settings".
However, in a statement issued today, Inclusion Ireland said that living in a smaller home does not guarantee "a good life on its own".
It pointed out that choice and control about where people live, who they live with and how they live, with appropriate person-centred supports, was the only way to ensure people's human rights.
Over the next ten years, the number of people with disabilities, their age groups, and where they are living, are likely to change.
Recognising that the country needed to plan to ensure people with disabilities would be able to get the right services, the Department of Health published a Disability Capacity Review a year ago.
It quantified and costed future needs for disability support services, in the light of expected population change, and looked the needs which had yet to be met.
Following its publication, groups representing disabled people in Ireland expressed serious concern at the level of unmet need in the provision of services and supports for disabled people.
The Disability Federation of Ireland; Inclusion Ireland; the Independent Living Movement Ireland; Mental Health Reform; the National Disability Services Association and the National Federation of Voluntary Service Providers said the Review provided the impetus to introduce multi-annual, consistent budgeting to address the needs of people with disabilities without resorting to situations becoming urgent or critical.
The Government developed an Action Plan following the publication of the Disability Capacity Review last year, to map out in more detail how to make progress to 2025.
The plan included elements like specialist community-based disability services supported through the HSE Disability Programme. This would cover supports like early intervention; specialist disability therapies; day services; personal assistance; home support; respite; and residential care.
In May this year, the aforementioned organisations called for the Action Plan to be published and acted on without delay.
Early last month, the Minister with responsibility for Disabilities Anne Rabbitte told the Dáil that it would be published within weeks, however, this has not happened.
Today, Inclusion Ireland reiterated the call for publication.
It pointed out that there are thousands of people with Intellectual disabilities living at home with their families with no access to a plan around their future.
Inclusion Ireland said the plan would give some hope to people who are living with elderly family members while waiting for a home of their own and shift the emphasis from one of being cared for to a life of choice and control which every person deserves.
CEO Derval McDonagh said the Disability Capacity Review Action Plan had to be published to inform people.
"In this way supports can be planned over time with a focus on the person's rights, rather than reacting to crisis after crisis. Only dealing with crises leads to more institutionalisation," she said.