Top level navigation

Breadcrumb to current page

Main content

Press Release

Press release

Intellectual Disability Services - HRB publish latest figures on current use and future demand

29 September 2016

The Health Research Board (HRB) today published the Annual Report of the National Intellectual Disability Database Committee 2015. The report, based on data from 28,108 people, highlights service provision levels in 2015 along with estimates of service requirements from now until 2020.

‘We gather this data to improve people’s lives. It will be used to plan future allocation of resources and services and to monitor the impact of policy decisions such as the move to community-based living arrangements’, says Graham Love, Chief Executive of the Health Research Board.

Minister McGrath commented,

‘The figures in the report show that in 2015 we had the highest number of people registered as receiving services since the NIDD data were first reported in 1996.

Good quality information is really essential so that we can plan ahead, so that we know what supports people will need and we can decide how to pay for them and how much it will cost. The supports that people with disabilities need to lead a good life can only be put in place when we have good information to help us. By gathering this information, we can help to improve the supports and services and to make sure they are going to the people who need them most.

In 2017, we will further improve the quality of the information collected when the HRB merge this database (NIDD) with their National Physical and Sensory Disability Database. This will give us a more comprehensive picture of services for people with disabilities’.

The report includes a profile of those on the NIDD, their current service use and future service requirements.

Summary text data is shown below:

Demographic profile:
  • There were 28,108 people registered on the HRB’s NIDD in December 2015.
  • There were more males (58.6%) than females (41.4%) registered.
  • More than one third of those registered were aged 0 – 19 years of age (36.4%) and 41.3% were aged 35 years and over.
  • Sixty-eight per cent of all those registered on the HRB’s NIDD (19,157 individuals) lived at home in 2015.  
Current services:

The report shows that 27,733 people with intellectual disability were in receipt of services.  Of those: 

  • 7,724 were in receipt of full-time residential services, a decrease of 2.1% on the 2014 figure.
  • 154 people (0.5%) reside in psychiatric hospitals in 2015.  
  • 27,682 (99.8%) people availed of at least one day programme in 2015.  
  • 23,828 (85.9%) people availed of one or more multidisciplinary support in 2015.

Future service requirements in the period 2016 – 2020: 
  • 2,167 new full-time residential placements will be required.  Almost three quarters (72.4%) of this group had a moderate, severe or profound level of intellectual disability and 57.3% were aged 35 years and over. The majority (85.4%) require placements in community group homes.  
  • 2,133 new residential support services (mainly respite) were reported as required in the period 2016-2020, an increase of 100 on the projected number required in the 2014 annual report.  
  • Of those in receipt of services in 2015, 10,943 people require alternative, additional, or enhanced services in the period 2016–2020 (a decrease of 292 places on 2014 figures).

Dr Sarah Craig, Head of National Health Information Systems at the Health Research Board added,

‘Year on year, the NIDD annual report highlights that people with intellectual disabilities are living longer. Of the people with moderate, severe or profound intellectual disability, the percentage aged 35 years and over increased from 28.5% in 1974 when NIDD data were first reported to 48.7% in 2015.

The report shows that the vast majority of people with intellectual disability live at home with family or with carers.  The improved life expectancy among adults with severe intellectual disability has placed an increased demand on full-time residential services as fewer places are becoming free over time. The report shows that 2,167 new full-time residential placements and 2,133 residential support services are needed, if we want to keep people living in the community’.

A copy of the main findings is available to download from the HRB website, and detailed tabular data is also available online in Microsoft Excel format. An infographic containing key statistics from the report is available to download from the HRB website.

The report will be launched today by Minister of State with special responsibility for Disabilities, Finian McGrath, T.D, at a prize-giving ceremony in Stewarts Care, Palmerstown, Dublin 20. This is to celebrate David McKenna’s success in winning the National Intellectual Disability Database (NIDD) cover design competition. His painting was selected from more than 250 entries nationwide as the cover image of the report. David attends Mill Lane Training Centre at Stewarts Care.

For further information, please contact Brian Cummins, Health Research Board, m 085 8879313, e bcummins(at)


Notes for editors

The Health Research Board (HRB) is the lead agency supporting and funding health research in Ireland. We also manage five health information systems in the areas of alcohol and drug use, disability and mental health and generate evidence for health policy. Our aim is to improve people's health, build health research capacity and underpin developments in service delivery.

We manage two national service-planning databases for people with disabilities: the National Intellectual Disability Database (NIDD), established in 1995, and the National Physical and Sensory Disability Database (NPSDD), established in 2002. These systems were designed to provide reliable data for service planning. Data from these systems are also used to inform policy. Registration is voluntary and so the systems are not epidemiological datasets.

Search the HRB website

Other information and links