Budget 2018 ‘major disappointment for people with disabilities and their families’ – Ó Caoláin
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Disabilities and Older People, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin T.D. has said that Budget 2018, announced today by Government, has failed to provide for the most vulnerable of citizens.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said that the Independent Alliance should not support the Government over their blatant disregard for people with disabilities.
The Cavan Monaghan TD said:
“This budget lacks any specific new measures to address the particular challenges that people with disabilities face on a daily basis. It must be a disappointment to the 640,000 people with disabilities and their carers and loved ones. It represents a failure by this Government to face up to their responsibilities to those of our citizens least able to support themselves.
“Government announced a €5 increase in social welfare payments, including for those in receipt of disability allowance. This will not come into effect until March. There is absolutely no reason why people depending on social welfare should be forced to wait six months, until March 2018, for this additional relief.
“There is no commitment in Budget 2018 to increase personal assistance hours or to increase respite care services. No funding has been made available for neuro rehab teams and transitional services. No mention of any new employment supports for people with disabilities. No commitment to invest in our transport infrastructure to ensure that people with a disability can travel at greater ease. No commitment to increase funding for housing adaptation grants overseen by local authorities.
“Reports over recent days suggested that the Minister of State with responsibility for Disability Issues, Finian McGrath TD, was threatening to vacate his position in protest at the Government’s failure to properly reflect the needs of people with disabilities in the budget. This beggars the question – ‘what did he get to stay in place and was there even less provided for people with disabilities up to the time of his protest?’
“It is time for Minister of State McGrath to stop codding himself. This is yet another failed opportunity for people with disabilities and the best thing he could now do is do as he has reportedly threatened. I urge Minister of State McGrath to pull out of this charade and to take his Independent Alliance colleagues with him. This Fine Gael – Fianna Fáil Government arrangement merits only disdain. It is time for the Varadkar-Martin partnership to end.”