Pre-Budget Submissions

On 27th September 2022, the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohue TD and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath TD, published Budget for 2023. This was framed as a Cost-of-Living Budget, and contains a significant package of measures totalling €11.3 billion. The main aim of the Budget was to protect citizens against the sharpest consequences of the rise in inflation that Ireland and many other countries around the world are experiencing.  

As one of the larger Budgets in recent years, the scale of this year’s measures reflects the reality that many people in Irish society are experiencing significant levels of financial hardship, particularly in recent months. It also aimed to continue with longer-term investment into essential public services such as education and health which has been a re-occurring theme over the last number of Budgets. 

Read our report below or download here

AsIAm launched our spending proposals this week for Budget 2020, with a clear message to the Government that greater investment is crucial to deliver meaningful inclusion and accessibility to services for autistic people.

Our proposals include autism-proofing public services and ensuring parity of access; building the autism community’s agency through proper State investment; and empowering autistic citizens and their families to exercise full choice over the supports that they feel best meet their needs.

Speaking at this week’s launch, AsIAm’s Chief Executive Officer Adam Harris said: “AsIAm has, for well over the past twelve months, consistently engaged with representatives and parties from right across the political divide in Leinster House. A growing consensus is emerging that this is not only an issue of education and healthcare, but also an issue of fundamental rights and equality.

“Autism is a spectrum that affects those on it on a whole-of-life basis – as such, it makes sense for us to approach it from a whole-of-life perspective. Pidgeon-holing it into only one or two policy areas only risks dangerously simplifying what is a complex neurodevelopmental condition.

“Our proposals outline a series of steps Government Departments can take to ensure authentic autism empowerment as a part of a coordinated and planned-out approach. These include:

  • €10million to develop a National training programme to be rolled-out for all mainstream teachers on inclusive education and best practices for engaging with autism within school settings;
  • €0.8million for an independent review of the availability and quality of autism class and special school placements and their appropriate resourcing;
  • €50million for the development and roll-out of the promised HSE Autism Strategy;
  • €2 million be provided to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to develop an appropriate, timely clinical pathway for young autistic people in mental health crises;
  • An additional €20 a week should be allocated to those in receipt of Disability Allowance;
  • Increase public awareness of current Workplace Supports available from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP), including the Wage Subsidy Scheme, the Workplace Equipment Adaption Grant and the Reasonable Accommodation Fund;
  • Mandate all State bodies to work towards hiring more autistic employees, in line with the incremental target of at least 6% by 2024 envisaged within the Comprehensive Employment Strategy.

Read the document in full below or download it here.

The New Challenges, Key Priorities: AsIAm’s Proposals for the Irish Budget 2021 document states the key priorities we would like to see in Government spending in the 2021 budget. In these spending proposals, we set out key priorities in the areas of; Education, Healthcare, Social Protection, Equality and Employment, which would ultimately benefit the Autism community. Read it in full below or download it here.

As the country steadily exits the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical to invest in supports for our most vulnerable citizens to help them with the transition back to normality. Autistic people and their families right across Ireland have been disproportionately impacted by the disruptions caused by the pandemic over the past seventeen months. 

AsIAm are putting a range of proposals to government in this submission, the proposals are centered around the fundamental need to unlock the potential of autistic people as we begin our recovery from the pandemic.

Key ways which AsIAm believes the Government can achieve this drive for truly inclusive and equitable access to services include:

•     Invest in the Autism Innovation Strategy’s creation and implementation, with a view to accelerate its development and rollout over the next twelve months.

•     Invest €2.8 million to hire 100 additional caseworkers to support Early Intervention and School Age Teams for autistic children’s referrals around the country.

•     Invest €14.5 million to reduce class sizes by one pupil, with a view to incrementally reducing their size in line with the European average of twenty pupils to one teacher over the next five years. 

•     Introduce a Cost of Disability payment, closely linked to the Disability Allowance payment, adjusted for contemporary rates of inflation.

•     Provide an additional €3.4 million for the hiring of 126 job coaches within regional Intreo Offices, trained in best practices for engaging with and supporting both autistic jobseekers and jobseekers with other disabilities.

•     Invest €700,000 into the Autism Community Fund’s development and delivery from the Dormant Accounts Fund to support community initiatives to address the isolation epidemic facing autistic people across the country.

To read our submission in full, see below or download it here

For the Easy to Read version, view and download it here.

Autistic people and families across Ireland have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the sharp rise in inflation and the cost of living. These social and economic barriers dominate many aspects of life as an Autistic person in Irish society and leave many in our community, particularly those on low and middle incomes, to experience isolation, social exclusion, poverty and lack of access to supports.

AsIAm believes that Budget 2023 presents an opportunity for the Government to both mitigate the hardship in our community and grasp the opportunity to create a more inclusive and just society where everyone can participate and live a happy, healthy life. From a lack of appropriate school places, additional costs of living with a disability, lower incomes, to barriers to accessing employment and accessing social opportunities,  Autistic people have been living under pressure for many years, and our submission outlines the need for urgent action.

Read our submission below or download it here

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