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Mary Lou McDonald calls on public to back European 1Million4Disability Campaign

22 September, 2007

Sinn Féin Chairperson & Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald today joined local party activists at Phibsboro Shopping Centre to collect signatures in support of the European signature drive '1Million4Disability Campaign'.

Speaking from Phibsboro Ms McDonald said:

“The 1Million4Disability Campaign was launched in January of this year by the European Disability Forum (EDF) with the objective of collecting 1 million signatures for presentation to the European Commission and President of the European Parliament on October 4th.

“The campaign is about getting the EU to introduce effective legislation to combat all forms of discrimination and guarantee full inclusion of the more than 50 million people in the member states who live with disabilities.

“As the deadline is approaching and Ireland is short 4,000 signatures I agreed with the campaign that Sinn Féin would assist by organising a country wide signature collection drive, which we launched last week.

"This initiative is particularly relevant to Ireland as since the introduction of the Disability Act 2005 discrimination against people with disabilities in terms of access to services has actually increased by 16%.

“This year’s Equality Authority annual report revealed that 23% of the total case files opened during the previous year were by those with disabilities experiencing discrimination in the workplace or accessing services,

“The Authority’s Chief Executive said at the launch of the report that the barriers faced by people with disabilities were so prevalent that many thousands were left effectively ‘housebound’. This is a shameful indictment of the government.

“A measure of any society is how it looks after the needs of it most vulnerable. Sinn Féin continues to fight for an Ireland of Equals and I am delighted as an MEP for Dublin to be promoting our progressive policies in Europe and at home in such a practical way.

“It has been fantastic to see that so many people want to back this campaign demanding stronger legislation to protect and promote the rights of people with disabilities. Sinn Féin activists are out all weekend throughout the 32 counties collecting signatures at shopping centres, community events and outside churches.” CRíOCH

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