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Sources of Funding – Ireland


Third Level Education

One Source of Funding

Department of Education and Science

Most third level institutions have Disability Liaison Officers and can be contacted through Student Services or through the Access Officer. The Disability Liaison Officer may provide a number of services including arranging any special access requirements, such as assistive technology, and provisions for sitting examinations.

The National University of Ireland may award a special grant of up to €500 to a student with a disability attending a course at a NUI college.

For more information, contact:
National University of Ireland
49 Merrion Square

Tel: 01-439 2424
Merrion Square

Department of Education Special Fund for Students with Disabilities.

This fund is specifically designed to financially assist third level students who have special needs. It is administered centrally by the:

National Office for Equity of Access to Higher Education
Higher Education Authority
First Floor
Brooklawn House
Shelbourne Road
Dublin 4

Applications: Students should make applications to this fund through their respective third level institution in September/October of each year.

For application forms students should, in the first instance, contact the appropriate person in the third level institution e.g. Disability Officer, Access Officer, Student Services or the Registrar's office.

Further information on all aspects of education for people with disabilities is available from:

Department of Education and Science
Co. Westmeath
Ph: 090–6483600 or 01-8896400

AHEAD (Association for Higher Education Access and Disablity).

AHEAD is a voluntary organisation working to promote improved access to third level education for people with disabilities. It has published “Accessing Third Level Education in Ireland – A Handbook for Students with Disablities”, which can be obtained at:

Newman House
86, St. Stephen’s Green
Dublin 2
Tel: 01- 4752386

Second Level Education

One source of funding:

The NCSE (The National Council for Special Education)

The NCSE has responsibility for addressing the needs of primary and second level students up to the age of 18 years.

The NCSE - The National Council for Special Education was established in 2003, to improve the delivery of education services to persons with special educational needs arising from disabilities.

With effect from 1 October 2005 the NCSE has been formally established under the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004 (EPSEN Act).

The NCSE allocates additional teaching and other resources to support the special educational needs of children with disabilities. Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) are now dealing with applications for additional teaching and Special Needs Assistant support for children with special educational needs from all schools.

SENOs are also responsible for examining applications from all schools for special equipment/assistive technology.

How funding is administered through SENOs

Following a positive recommendation for assistive technology from the SENO, the Department issues the appropriate level of funding to the school that the pupil is attending and the school purchases the equipment appropriate to the student’s needs.

Making an Application for funding

The school makes an application to the SENO for assistive technology based on the needs of the student.
Level of Funding

100% funding is available to the school to purchase assistive technology equipment to meet the student’s needs.

Further information and details can be found on the NCSE interim website

Employment & Training

Assistive Technology funding in respect of Employment & Training encompasses a wide variety of issues that enhance and support access to work and the workplace for people with disabilities.

A person with a disability, who has been offered employment or is in employment in the private sector, and who requires a more accessible workplace or adapted equipment, can apply for a grant from FÁS towards the costs of adapting premises or equipment, through his/her employer. Public sector employers are expected to fund any such assistive technology supports without recourse to FÁS.


The government agency responsible for providing labour market services for people with disabilities is FÁS:

Employment Supports

The following is a list of related supports to help people with disabilities gain or retain employment.

Workplace Equipment/Adaptation Grant (WEAG) The aim of this grant is to increase the job opportunities for people with disabilities through supporting any additional costs to an employer in employing or retaining an employee with a disability. These additional costs should relate to the disability.

It also supports any additional costs of self-employment for people with disabilities.

A maximum grant of €6,348.70 is available towards the cost of adaptations to premises or equipment. This grant can also be used to upgrade adapted equipment funded previously.

How Does the (WEAG) Grant Work?

  • The employer, or employee, contacts their local FÁS Employment Services Office to obtain an application form.
  • The applicant identifies the equipment and/or adaptation needed, justifying why it is needed and submits quotations.
  • FÁS and the applicant review the application.
  • FÁS pay a grant to the applicant to cover the costs agreed.

Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS) This new FAS scheme introduced in 2005 provides financial incentives to employers in the private sector, to employ disabled people who work more than 20 hours per week. All matters related to conditions of employment for disabled employees under this scheme are the same as those that apply to other employees. For example PRSI contributions, annual leave, tax issues and the appropriate rate of pay for the job.

How to apply

The employer contacts their local FAS Employment Services Office and obtains a WSS application form.

FAS, the employer and employee agree the wage subsidy to be paid at the end of the first month of employment.

Employee Retention Grant Scheme

This scheme aims to encourage employers to retain employees who acquire an illness, condition or impairment, which impacts on their ability to carry out their job. It provides employers with an opportunity to retrain workers so that they can undertake alternative duties or continue to work at their existing duties, using modified techniques and reasonable accommodations.

Personal Reader Grant

A person who is blind or visually impaired and needs assistance with job related reading may be entitled to a grant to allow for the employment of a personal reader. The grant is available for up to 16 weeks.

HSE Funding

Health Service Executive:

In January 2005 the running of Ireland’s health and social services became the responsibility of the HSE. The HSE replaced the former health boards which were abolished. Health and personal social services are now delivered by Health Services Executive Areas, each of which is responsible for its own area.

Each area has an Occupational Therapist who will visit an applicant, advise and assess their needs and report back to their local HSE Area.

Funding for assistive technology is provided under Aids and Appliances funding

Aids and Appliances

  • Aids and appliances are assistive devices (equipment) which help people with disabilities to carry out the activities of daily living, replace functions lost through disability, or support carers in carrying out special care tasks (e.g. hoists for transferring people with disability from bed to chair, etc.) Each HSE Department and Voluntary Agency involved in the assessment, prescription and supply of aids and appliances will be able to list the equipment supplied by that Department or agency.
  • Core budgets for equipment are held by each HSE Department such as Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, etc. As demand for appliances often exceeds available funding, once of funding is accessed to supplement core budgets and meet the needs of those waiting for supply of appliances.
  • Funds are administered through HSE. Grants for equipment are issued to Voluntary Service Providers in the context of their Service Level Agreement with the HSE.
  • Funding is not issued directly to individuals requiring equipment therefore they are not required to apply for funding. All equipment recommended by therapists or agency personnel is included in the relevant department/agency list and is supplied within available resources.
  • Individual therapists/agency personnel will be the main point of contact for any person requiring aids and appliances.

End of Year Funding:

In certain circumstances funds may be available at the end of the financial year that may be provided for non Medical Card or Long Term Illness card holders to obtain Aids and Appliances.

The amount of money available under (End of Year Funding) varies from area to area. An applicant applies for funds through their local Occupational Therapist and is assessed accordingly. Applicants can apply through the local occupational therapist by contacting the Health Service Executive in their local area. Contact details are given below.

Contact details for the Head Office of the Health Service Executive are:

Oak House,
Limetree Avenue,
Millennium Park,
Co. Kildare

Phone: +353 (0)45 880400
Fax: 1890 200893