Personal Assistance Services for Disabled People in Ireland: “They meet the criteria for supports but we don't have the resources to provide the services”



Personal assistance (PA) services have been an evolving part of Irish provision for people with physical and sensory impairments for roughly three decades, but the lack of national standards for allocation, provision or data collection have made it an opaque system characterised by piecemeal or ad hoc local solutions to increasing need. This study approaches the system through the perspective of institutional insiders, eliciting the views and experiences of state and NGO based institutional stakeholders about the PA system and its challenges. A two-step exploratory mixed-methods design, incorporating a series of qualitative interviews and a survey of HSE disability managers, provides rich insights into the nature of PA provision in Ireland. The findings illustrate and explore several chronic issues facing the PA system, most notably around under-funding, inadequate administrative data records and variation in allocation and provision across the country.

Author Biographies

Eamonn Carroll, Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin

Eamonn Carroll is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Economic and Social Research Institute. He completed his PhD in Education at Dublin City University. His research interests include the social model of disability, inclusive education and intersectional inequality in education.

Ciarán Mac Domhnaill, University of St. Andrews, Scotland

Ciarán Mac Domhnaill worked as a Research Assistant in the ESRI between 2018 and 2020. His work in the ESRI was focused primarily on digital communications, on disability supports and on the effects of the environment on health.

Selina McCoy, The Economic and Social Research Institute and Trinity College Dublin

Selina McCoy is Associate Research Professor in Social Research and joint education research coordinator at the Economic and Social Research Institute in Ireland. She has over 25 years of experience with responsibility for research and evaluation projects in the fields of European education, inequality, academic achievement and student development.






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