DFI Newsletter – November 2022 Issue

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Welcome to our November update. In the past couple of days we received some news about the Pandemic Special Recognition Payment which we wrote to members about last Friday. Details are included below.

We are delighted to be introducing our new Member Spotlight series which this month features a chat with Anna Gunning and Elizabeth Morrin of Children in Hospital Ireland. 

We look ahead to the International Day of Persons With Disabilities and remind you to save the date for the #PurpleLights22 Campaign, all happening on 3 December.

We look forward to the launch on 6 December of a joint social policy report from DFI and Citizen’s Information Board on ‘Addressing the Housing Needs for People with Disabilities’.

Our webinar for members on Employment law is now available for view.

DFI’s Laura O’Callaghan is highlighting best practice when it comes to advocacy and action as she shares a video from the Bray Area Partnership.

We also highlight some reports of interest on poverty and social inclusion and share a report from our quarterly meeting of the Community and Voluntary Pillar.

On our Digital and Technology Hub we feature a brand new podcast from Ellen Keane and remind you of the valuable communications masterclass series available from We Act.


In this issue…
Member Spotlight

  • Children in Hospital Ireland


Actioning Advocacy

  • Laura O’Callaghan, DISC


Events & Consultations

  • #PurpleLights & #IDPwD22
  • CIB/DFI report on housing needs of pwds
  • Employment law webinar
  • NDA conference 2022


Health Update

  • Pandemic Special Recognition Payment
  • DFI representing members
  • NASS deadline
  • NDA focus groups
Digital & Technology Hub


  • The D Word with Ellen Keane
  • ADHD app
  • We Act masterclass series
  • Emoji use
Member Spotlight

Children in Hospital Ireland

We are delighted to introduce a new feature in our monthly update where we will spotlight one of our member organisations.

This month we are featuring Children in Hospital Ireland. Did you know that each year in Ireland there are, on average, over 270,000 hospital visits by children?

  • For over 100,000 children this means an average of a 3-night stay.
  • Every year, 75,000 child inpatients are under 4 years of age and almost all are admitted through A&E – an unexpected and unplanned visit.

Anna Gunning CEO, spoke to us about how a letter in The Irish Times in the late sixties led to a coffee table advocacy group of parents which eventually became Children in Hospital Ireland.  Anna also shares some of the advocacy work being undertaken by CIH around the financial stresses of having a child in hospital. You can listen to Anna’s interview here.

We also met with Elizabeth Morrin, CIH’s Volunteer Manager. Elizabeth spoke to us about the important role of community volunteers. She also shared her hopes for the future development of CIH. You can listen to her interview here.

If you would like to be featured in our Member Spotlight series, please email brendadrumm@disability-federation.ie.

See full Member Spotlight feature
Health Update

Pandemic Special Recognition Payment (PSRP)

The HSE has confirmed that the Pandemic Special Recognition Payment (PSRP) will be issued to eligible organisations this month. This PSRP is a payment of either €1,000 or €600 for employees from non-HSE and non-Section 38 organisations who, between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2021, worked in a frontline Covid-exposed clinical environment e.g., settings where staff had to treat, care for or be in close contact with people who were known to have Covid-19 or Covid symptoms.

PSRP Funding Application Packs are being issued to organisations identified by the HSE.  If you have not received a pack, and employees in your organisation meet the inclusion criteria for the payment, please contact your relevant HSE contact. We can also follow-up with the HSE to request a pack is sent out to you.

Staff from non-HSE and non-section 38 organisations for the payment have been identified as:

  • Private Sector long-term residential care facilities for older people (nursing homes) and hospices, whether they be Private, Voluntary, Section 39, etc
  • Eligible staff working on-site in Section 39 long-term residential care facilities for people with disabilities
  • Agency staff who worked in clinical settings for the HSE or within Cohorts 1, 2 and 4 (e.g. a nurse, doctor, paramedic)
  • Health Care Support Assistants (also known as home help / home care / home support) contracted to the HSE

In addition, for employees to be eligible for the payment they must have worked for at least 4 weeks between 1st March 2020 and 30th June 2021 – this does not have to be a continuous 4-week period. This work must have been in a frontline covid-exposed clinical environment, and which warranted the employee’s inclusion in Sequence Group 1 or 2 for the Vaccination Programme.

The HSE’s intention is to disburse funding from mid-November 2022 to non-HSE and non-Section 38 organisations who have submitted claim forms by COB on Friday 11th November. We will be in contact as we receive more information.

DFI Representing Members

DFI will be representing its members to the HSE National Consultative Committee on 9 November, and the Disability Advisory Group to the National Clinical Programme for People with Disabilities, NCPPD on 17 November. These spaces are where DFI meet with HSE National staff, consulting on disability strategic and operational policy and service provision. If you have key issues or queries get in touch with us today to have them raised.  We update members on the details of this work through the DFI National Health Advisory Forum, NHAF mailing list and meetings.

DFI National Health Advisory Forum Meeting, 24 November 10:30 – 12pm

DFI will be holding its end of year briefing with members on Thursday 24 November. The aim of this meeting will be to reflect with members on this year’s work achievements together and consult with member on DFI health advocacy priorities and campaigns into 2023.

Click here to register for Forum
The National Ability Supports System, NASS, Deadline!

If your organisation is funded by the HSE to deliver services you must upload to the NASS database before 16 December. If you have any questions on NASS and how to ensure your organisation records are uploaded get in touch with Cathy on 086 3847440 today.

The National Disability Authority invitation to Focus Groups. 

The NDA is developing a guidance document for conducting collaborative research with disabled people. If you or a representative from your organisation would like to attend a focus group (dates to be confirmed) to discuss what should be included in this guidance document, email Chloe Walsh at chwalsh@nda.ie .

Actioning Advocacy
A quick word with DFI’s Laura O’Callaghan and an invitation to watch an enlightening video

Laura O’Callaghan is the Disability Federation of Ireland Community Development Officer working in County Wicklow. Laura facilitates the Wicklow County Council Disability and Inclusion Steering Committee (DISC), which was set up to make County Wicklow as accessible as possible for people with disabilities.  She is also an active member of the Bray Aread Partnership, BAP, Disability Network and has found the input from the network invaluable in helping to identify issues for people with disabilities that can be addressed at a local and regional level by the DISC.  We asked her to share a quick word about her work and she did! She is also inviting you to watch this really enlightening video from the Bray Area Partnership.

“Disability organisations often don’t have the capacity or resources themselves to come together to work on issues that are common to them all, so it’s really fantastic that the Bray Area Partnership is doing this at a local level. DISC has had a number of issues come up through the BAP Disability Network in recent months. Local people with disabilities had raised the issue of beach access through the Disability Network. This went to the DISC to be discussed and since then we’ve met with local District Engineers and are starting to work on finding some funding to try to make it more accessible for people to get onto local beaches. Another example would be when network members gave input on the need for Changing Places facilities in local town centres – that’s an adjustable height bench and ceiling track hoist in a bathroom, making it more accessible for people with disabilities so they can get out and about. We’re now hoping to have one installed in Bray in the next year or two and this is definitely top of the agenda on the DISC.”


Policy & Research
DFI Submission to Roadmap for Social Inclusion Mid Term Review
The Roadmap for Social Inclusion commits to achieving specific targets for people with disabilities, notably reduced poverty rates and increased employment rates by 2025. However Ireland remains one of the worst performing countries in the EU in both these areas.

The government is currently undertaking a mid-term review of the Roadmap for Social inclusion. DFI’s submission to the consultation says the review offers an opportunity to reflect on disability poverty and its root causes, and to course correct and take action to address the issues. In order to deliver on its commitments in the Roadmap for Social Inclusion and the Programme for Government, the government must provide specific targeted increases in income and social protection supports to disabled people, in particular those who cannot work and live with many extra costs due to their disability.


Read our Submission here
DFI hosts quarterly meeting of Community and Voluntary Pillar
DFI was delighted to host the quarterly meeting of the Community and Voluntary (C&V) Pillar last month. DFI is the disability member of this social pillar, made up of 17 civil society organisations. At the meeting pillar members shared their analysis of the recent Budget and discussed plans for 2023. The consensus was that wile one off measures were welcome, the Budget did not do enough to address the ongoing challenges the groups the C&V Pillar represent – including women, older people, young people, the unemployed, those living in poverty, etc. More long term measures and investment are required to address poverty and income inequality, and community needs across Irland. The C&V Pillar will continue its advocacy and collective policy work during the long winter and a difficult 2023 ahead.
Budget 2023 campaign update

DFI are continuing our efforts to clarify aspects of Budget 2023 that are not fully clear. Our breakdown of key measures from the Budget from what we know so far can be read here.

Representatives of the Oireachtas Disability Group (ODG), which DFI is a member of, met with Minister Anne Rabbitte on 18th October. The Letter of Determination is expected to be provided to the HSE in the next two weeks, and the Minister could not share further details of the Budget breakdown until that is sent. Further clarification of the €100m inflationary pressure funding awaits this letter.

The ODG also raised the need for publication of the Disability Capacity Review Action Plan, clarity on the date of the transfer of functions to DCEDIY and the need to develop a Cost of Disability Action Plan.

Many critical areas are being delayed and falling into a vacuum while the transfer of functions has not taken place. This includes the delayed publication of the Capacity Review Action Plan and the lack of action at a national level on workforce planning in disability services. The ODG wrote to the Taoiseach last week calling for the transfer to be completed. In the meantime, the ODG is calling for issues relating to disability to be actionable through effective, transparent and action-focused inter-departmental working.

Public Sector Duty funding from IHREC

DFI are pleased to announce that we have received funding from IHREC to carry out work around the public sector duty. Our project, which will take place this year and next year, will focus on the responsibilities of Section 38 & 39 bodies under the public sector duty. It will include training for members, which we will have more information about next year. You can read about DFI’s successful grant here.

DFI Highlights Cost of Disability in Video on International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
To mark International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (17 October), DFI made a short video featuring two disabled advocates from members CRC and MS Ireland. A huge thanks to Catherine and Mark, who spoke to us about the economic challenges of living with a disability, and the extra costs involved.

People with disabilities are disproportionately at risk of poverty. 1 in 5 people who cannot work due to disability live in consistent poverty, while 2 in 5 are at risk of poverty. The cost of living crisis is only adding further pressure, and we are all worried that more disabled people will be pushed into poverty in the coming months.

The video highlights the many extra costs that come with having a disability, and risk of poverty this creates, especially given the lack of sufficient income and supports provided. We need to see permanent and ongoing action on the Cost of Disability to change this, including the introduction of a Cost of Disability payment, which many of us have been calling for years.

Read from a selection of recently released policy reports and briefings which may be of interest to you and could support your advocacy work

Two ESRI Reports Highlight Disability Poverty

  • Two important recent studies by the ESRI give more evidence on the connection between disability and poverty. The first study shows that the presence of disability among those who experienced childhood poverty was also part of the reason for their increased risk of deprivation in adulthood. – Read it here
  • The second study shows that almost half of those who report being materially deprived but are not classified as being at risk of poverty lived in a household where someone reported having a disability. This study again demonstrates the negative impact of Cost of Disability and need to factor it in it when tracking poverty rates by income – Read it here

Social Justice Ireland: Health and Disability in Budget 2023

Social Justice Ireland recently published an analysis of the Health and Disability provisions in Budget 2023 – Read it here

European Anti-Poverty Network Poverty Watch report

European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) recently launched its 2022 Poverty Watch report, entitled “Equality for All? Ireland as a society not just an economy”. The report contains powerful testimony from Gillian on the challenges created by the Cost of Disability – Read it here



Events & Consultations
Save the date for #PurpleLights22 campaign and #IDPwD22
The one month countdown is underway to this year’s Purple Lights campaign and the International Day for Persons With Disabilities which both fall on Saturday 3 December.

The Purple Lights campaign sees Government buildings local and national, major companies, civic and educational institutions are all turning purple to celebrate the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December.

Speaking ahead of this year’s event, Purple Lights founder, disability activist, Gary Kearney said, “This campaign is something very close to my heart. It’s a day of celebration and awareness where we shine a light on disability. I am really looking forward to seeing this year’s engagement with the campaign. I have no doubt that we will have a wonderful response to the day.”

We will have more information and resources available in the coming weeks. For now you can follow the campaign on its hashtag #PurpleLights22 and start readying your purple lights and dusting off your purple clothes!

The annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) on 3 December was proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3. The day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.

The theme this year is “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world“. 

You can read more about this year’s theme on our website where we will also be sharing some new resources closer to 3 December.

We would also love to hear more about what your organisation’s plans are for 3 December. Email us at brendadrumm@disability-federation.ie

Launch of Citizen’s Information Board/DFI Report on ‘Addressing the Housing Needs of People with Disabilities’ – 6 December
DFI and Citizen’s Information Board will launch a joint social policy report on ‘Addressing the Housing Needs of People with Disabilities’ online on Tuesday 6 December. Minister of State for Local Government and Planning in the Department of Housing, Peter Burke, will speak at the launch. The report aims to:

  • Identify specific accommodation difficulties experienced by people with disabilities,
  • Document and analyse the experiences of people with disabilities, and disability and advocacy organisations who support them,
  • Inform a policy action agenda, with particular reference to the implementation of the new National Housing Strategy for Disabled People, 2022-2027

If you are interested in attending the online launch, please contact and we will send you further details on the event closer to the launch date. Email: rionamorris@disability-federation.ie

Employment Law webinar now available

DFI recently held a webinar in partnership with Adare HR around Employment Law. This members-only event provided key updates on gender pay gap reporting, changes to Statutory Sick Pay and remote working legislation.

We heard that in the coming months, it is widely expected that the Right to Request to Work Remotely is just one of several legislative changes that the Government will be looking to enact.

Understanding anticipated legislative changes and remaining compliant is both time-consuming and challenging. Ensuring your policies and procedures are being updated as well as your contracts of employment are essential to maintaining compliance.

You can watch the webinar here.

Adare HR have also shared a free eBook on the upcoming changes which you can download here.

NDA Annual Conference 2022

The National Disability Authority (NDA) Conference took place on 20 October. The conference theme was ‘From accessibility to a Universal Design approach- learning from the public and private sectors’ which focused on Article 9 of the UN CRPD on Accessibility. Minister Anne Rabbitte opened the conference which covered various aspects of accessibility including employment, the built environment and information and services. The speakers included representatives from the public and private sectors, with a mix of national and international speakers. The NDA will be making the videos of the conference available on their YouTube channel here.

 Digital and Technology Hub
The D Word – a new podcast from Ellen Keane

Four-time Paralympian and gold medal winner Ellen Keane, who was born with an undeveloped left hand, has launched a new podcast. The D-Word is a humorous, emotionally engaging, and thought-provoking podcast series that explores the world of disability through conversations with leaders in their field who live with a disability or are involved in the disabled community. In each episode, Ellen and her guest reflect on the challenges they face, including anxiety, the reaction of others, finding love and the best part about being different. Episode one features James Scully, a two-time Paralympic swimmer and former teammate of Ellen, who retired in 2019. Two episodes have already been released, with four more pre-recorded episodes set to air in the coming weeks. The podcast is available on Apple, Amazon, and Spotify.

There’s an app for that! 

ADHD Ireland in conjunction with UCD and the HSE National Clinical Programme for ADHD in Adults has rolled out a free smart app, providing evidence-based information, self-help techniques and further resources to ADHD adults. The app is available for free download from Google Play Store for Android users, and the Apple App Store for iPhone users.

We Act Masterclass Series

We Act joined forces with The National Lottery on The Marketing Masterclass Series, in September 2022.  These sessions were facilitated by experts who shared practical tips and useful takeaways to help you and your organisation reach the right audiences and make your marketing and communications efforts more effective.  The full series, which covers topics such as pitching your stories to media, design and video content creation and talking to influencers, is available here.

Making social media more accessible – emoji use

Emojis were created in 1999 and since then they have become an essential addition to all sorts of communications from text messaging to social media posts.  But, overusing and incorrect use of emojis means that your content is definitely not inclusive.

When someone uses a screen reader or text-to-speech program to read an emoji, they hear the assigned description for that character. This means that if you’re someone who is partial to typing consecutive emojis, changing the colour on customizable icons, or using emojis in the middle of posts or Tweets, you’re slowing down the experience for the visually impaired.

Using this series of emojis for example: 🌴😎🍹💃🏼🎉 for the caption on your holiday photos will mean anyone using a screen reader hears the words “Palm Tree, Smiling Face With Sunglasses, Tropical Drink, Woman Dancing: Medium-Light Skin Tone, Party Popper,” in the middle of a sentence and that is unintelligible.

To keep your emoji usage accessible, be sure to:

  • Use emojis in moderation.
  • Place emojis at the end of your social media posts. The more important information should be consumed by the user first. Interjecting emojis in the middle of sentences or paragraphs could mix up the messaging once it’s read aloud by a screen reader.
  • Avoid using emojis in your social profile name.
  • Resist changing the colour on customizable emojis. Every unique icon gets descriptor information.

You can read more on emojis on emojipedia.org. The site has every emoji’s description, including ones with custom colours, for multiple platforms and devices. It’s also the best way to stay updated on when new emojis are being released, like the long-awaited accessibility icons.

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