Sinn Féin’s David Cullinane has called on the government to stop engaging in cosmetic antics and pretence. Speaking during the Seanad debate on the provision of the Personal Assistance Service for disabled people, Senator Cullinane said:
“Sinn Féin supports the provision of the Personal Assistance Service, the aim of which is to enable disabled people to live full and independent lives.
“However, if full participation is the goal, then it is incumbent on the Government to ensure the service is properly resourced.
“The state has failed abysmally when it comes to access to health, education and employment for people with disabilities.
“It is now 2014 and the National Disability Strategy is ten years old.
“We are entitled to ask what has changed in the intervening period. Unfortunately the answer is not a lot.
“The government parties will defend their record in government. But when it comes to access to key services life for disabled people is exceptionally tough.
“This situation has been exacerbated by the policies of austerity embraced by the government.
“Disability should not, in and of itself, mean a life of dependency and poverty.
“We need to listen to disabled people and take seriously their recommendations when it comes to the policies that have a huge bearing on how they live their lives.
“In the final analysis disability is not the problem.
“The key issue is the failure of government to give legislative grounding to a properly resourced and user centred disability policy, where the buck stops with the state.”