Sinn Féin Private Members Motion Regarding Issues Affecting Section 39s Debated in the Dáil

TDAC Representatives outside Leinster House

A Private Members Motion was set down by Sinn Féin’s Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, TD yesterday evening, 17th December. Members of The Disability Action Coalition, staff and service users attended the motioning, despite the bustle of the city in the run up to the Christmas holidays. Members of The Disability Action Coalition filled the Gallery, along with Union representatives, staff, and members of other Section 39 organisations. Mr. Ó Caoláin outlined the importance of the independent not-for-profit sector in the delivery of health and care services in Ireland. He also stated that “there is a growing sense of crisis in this sector, not least the crisis of financial sustainability confronting many not-for-profit organisations” and that “the significance of these organisations cannot be underestimated.”

The motion called for 5 actions to be taken by the government:

  1. The Department of An Taoiseach to engage with Section 39 organisations to develop a long term vision to allow the sector and future Governments to provide services through a more integrated approach with sustainable levels of funding.
  2. Not-for-profit sector to establish a forum, to include people who use services, to develop a plan to provide enhanced services into the future and agree to develop a Compact Agreement with the State that will govern this future relationship to be completed within three years.
  3. Future Government’s to give due recognition to the not-for-profit sector and create a junior ministerial portfolio for the community and voluntary/not-for-profit sectors.
  4. A complete review of current legislative provisions governing the relationship between the State and not-for-profit organisations in the disability sector to take place at the earliest opportunity and any legislative changes required to be given priority in any new Programme for Government.
  5. The Government to agree that the unequal pay terms that exist between Section 38 and Section 39 organisations must end without delay and that pay restoration for these workers must be delivered as a priority.

Deputies from Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil, Labour, Independents for Change and Independents gave insights into their own constituencies experiences and the need for the government to act on this motion. All parties, except for Fine Gael, accepted the motion. The vote will be held in the Dáil on Wednesday 18th December. Stay tuned for updates.

Watch the debate’s opening remarks here

You can read the transcript of the debate here.

Irish Times coverage here.