Pathways to Work: Minister O’Brien welcomes over €7.5 million in funding to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities

3rd August, 2021

  • Fingal Leader Partnership and Empower among projects to receive funding


  • 45 projects to receive funding benefiting almost 2,300 participants, including 27 former Ability Programme providers 


  • Grants of up to €200,000 to improve employment skills and provide educational opportunities


  • Focus on providing supports to people with disabilities to start their own business


  • Package is a key part of Government’s new ‘Pathways to Work’ Strategy

Minister Joe O’Brien, TD, has welcomed over €7.5 million in funding to support and improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Fingal Leader Partnership and Empower are among the projects to receive funding.

The funding package for 45 projects nationwide is designed to support people with disabilities to improve their employment skills, advance their education or start their own business.

The package is a key part of Pathways to Work commitments in relation to supporting employment opportunities for people with disabilities – the Government’s national employment services strategy.

The successful projects will receive grants of up to €200,000 from the Department of Social Protection.

Funding will be provided to the successful projects from 1st September 2021 to 30th December 2022.

Over this period the various projects aim to work directly with approximately 2,284 participants.

The primary purpose of the funding is to provide people with disabilities the opportunity to gain and sustain employment/self-employment or access education and training to improve their employment prospects.

On welcoming the approval of the recommended 45 projects, Minister O’Brien commented:

“I am delighted that Empower and Fingal Leader Partnership are among those projects who have been awarded funding.  This welcome support is designed to aid people with disabilities into employment or self-employment.

“It is important to support people with disabilities in every way – whether it’s helping them upskill or arming them with the supports necessary to achieve their ambition to set up their own business or social enterprise.

The Minister added:

“I am particularly pleased that the 27 organisations funded under the 3-year Ability Programme, which was funded by my Department and the European Social Fund, were successful under this measure. This funding will allow these providers to continue their innovative and valuable work and give certainty going forward.

“The new funding being provided by my Department will give an opportunity to many voluntary and community groups to deliver initiatives that will focus on people with disabilities living in communities the length and breadth of the country.”

The funding is part of the Dormant Accounts Action Plan 2021 and is administered by the Department of Social Protection in conjunction with Pobal. The 45 successful projects will support people with disabilities to access employment/self-employment, improve their career progression opportunities “in work” and improve their employment outcomes through education and training which will contribute to participants being “work ready”. Projects will also support potential employers to provide employment for people with a disability.

Pobal will manage the process on behalf of the Department, including payment, contract management, performance monitoring, and beneficiary support and auditing.


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