– the independent non-profit sector section 39 provides essential services to thousands of people with disabilities throughout Ireland; I would first like to acknowledge the visitors who will be joining us later in the evening in the visitors` gallery, in particular the many workers employed by organisations who are dealt with in this proposal by private Members. I pay tribute to the tenacity and determination they have shown in their campaign to restore their salaries and conditions in harmony with all other public sector employees as they should be. In 2018, the health budget for the provision of services to people with disabilities amounted to more than €1.81 billion. More than 60 per cent of them were devoted to the provision of housing services, 20 per cent to the provision of day and assistance places, and the rest to the provision of leisure services and hours of personal assistance and home assistance. These organizations support the communities they serve and build unique relationships with service users, their families and networks of friends. They are unique and irreplaceable. It was wrong to cut civil service salaries to save banks and developers. Sinn Féin was against these cuts and we are still doing it. That`s why we`re here tonight. Almost every week, a taoiseach answers questions from my colleagues in this House by telling us that things are not as bad as they used to be.
Let it say and prove it to the Section 39 workers who will come here tonight and to the 9,000 of their colleagues in this state. Let them ask him how they are doing. – For many years, the Irish State`s approach to meeting the needs of people with disabilities has not been to provide services directly, but to rely on the provision of services by a large number of voluntary/non-profit organisations, but with public funding; – in 2018, the health budget for the provision of services to people with disabilities amounted to more than €1.81 billion; Two things came to mind before I came to speak in the Chamber this evening. The first is the huge footprint of Cork Branch 39 organisations, for example the Cork Association for Autism, Enable Ireland, the Cope Foundation and Hospice Marymount, where my grandmother is currently and where she is receiving incredible care.