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10 Claire Edwards Assessment of Need as a technology of government in Ireland’s Disability Act 2005 Introduction Ireland has witnessed significant developments in the domain of disability policy and legislation in the past fifteen years. In a declared commitment to furthering the participation of people with disabilities in society, the government published a National Disability Strategy in 2004, the cornerstone of which was the passing of the Disability Act 2005. The Act, which promotes a number of positive action measures designed to safeguard disabled

in Reframing health and health policy in Ireland
A governmental analysis

Recent years have witnessed a burgeoning international literature which seeks to analyse the construction of health and health policy through an analytical lens drawn from post-Foucauldian ideas of governmentality. This book is the first to apply the theoretical lens of post-Foucauldian governmentality to an analysis of health problems, practices, and policy in Ireland. Drawing on empirical examples related to childhood, obesity, mental health, smoking, ageing and others, it explores how specific health issues have been constructed as problematic and in need of intervention in the Irish State. The book focuses specifically on how Jean Jacques Rousseau's critical social theory and normative political theory meet as a conception of childhood. The 'biosocial' apparatus has recently been reconfigured through a policy framework called Healthy Ireland, the purpose of which is to 'reduce health inequalities' by 'empowering people and communities'. Child fatness continues to be framed as a pervasive and urgent issue in Irish society. In a novel departure in Irish public health promotion, the Stop the Spread (STS) campaign, free measuring tapes were distributed throughout Ireland to encourage people to measure their waists. A number of key characteristics of neoliberal governmentality, including the shift towards a market-based model of health; the distribution of power across a range of agents and agencies; and the increasing individualisation of health are discussed. One of the defining features of the Irish health system is the Universal Health Insurance and the Disability Act 2005.

Introducing the governmentality turn

multiple discourses in which smokers were simultaneously constructed as uncivilised, irrational and irresponsible (Fernández, 2016). In other cases, strategies of governance have sought to bring into being a particular category of citizen as a means of managing health issues and scarce resources. For example, under Ireland’s Disability Act 2005, access to assessment and resources is predicated on the adoption of a particular definition of disability, whilst the legislation has introduced a whole series of processes and techniques through which knowledge about the

in Reframing health and health policy in Ireland
Past, present and future

requirements. This foreshadowed a wider requirement on public bodies set out in the Disability Act 2005 to provide material in appropriate formats where so requested by a person with a disability. Finally, we saw an accessible appeals system as being a core piece of the FOI architecture. An appeals system that would uphold the core principles of the Act would be the best guarantee that decisions of first instance would be correct. In particular, the Information Commissioner would have a key role in relation to the Act’s provisions on non-mandatory exemptions: where the

in Ireland and the Freedom of Information Act

infrastructures and institutions, and disability results from the adverse interactions that they may have with individual characteristics such as ‘enduring physical, sensory mental health or intellectual impairment[s]’, as the Disability Act (2005) characterises them. Moreover, there is a broad recognition that disability leads to ‘high levels of social, economic and cultural disadvantage’ (Disability Federation of Ireland, 2008). In this context, disability policy now emphasises the need for services to be offered on a common basis for those with and without disabilities as

in The economics of disability

the Strategy was the Disability Act 2005, which proclaimed the right of people with disability to an assessment of need. However, while individual need assessment for children under 5 years has commenced, similar provision for older children and adults has been deferred indefinitely. Moreover, there was always ambiguity as to where older people fitted into the Strategy anyway, given the separation between disability and ageing in the policy process. A  major reason why many of the provisions of the Strategy have been put on hold has been budgetary constraints

in The economics of disability