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Ó Snodaigh endorses Disability Federation’s Pre Budget Submission

8 October, 2009 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Speaking at the launch of the Disability Federation of Ireland’s Pre-Budget Submission today Sinn Féin spokesperson on Equality Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD fully endorsed the submission and said the gains made in previous years for people with disabilities are now under attack as the Government seeks to make them pay the price for the disastrous policies and practices of Government, banks and big business that led to the economic collapse.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“On behalf of Sinn Féin I welcome the Disability Federation of Ireland’s Pre-Budget Submission. I want to welcome also the National Disability Strategy Recession Implementation Charter which you have launched today with seven other umbrella organisations.

“Because of the unprecedented recession in which we now find ourselves your Pre-Budget Submission and the Charter are essentially defensive in nature. They are about defending the gains already made, gains that are under attack as we speak. They are also about ensuring continuing progress, especially in implementing the National Disability Strategy.

“We fully endorse the headline issues you have identified – protecting funding for disability-specific services and facilities, improved access to mainstream services for people with disabilities, recognition of the role of voluntary disability organisations and adequate income for disabled people.

“When disability legislation was introduced during the boom years we fully supported the demand of disability organisations that such legislation should be rights-based. You argued correctly that the absence of rights-based legislation could see gains made in times of economic prosperity being clawed back in times of economic downturn.

“This is exactly what is happening now. And it is happening across society. Disabled people are not confined to one sector labelled ‘disability’. They are workers. They are unemployed. They are students. They are older people. They are parents. They are carers. They are cared for. They are patients. They are service providers.

“Across all these categories ordinary people are being compelled by this Government to pay the price for the disastrous policies and practices of Government, banks and big business that led to the economic collapse. But the wealthy are not being asked to suffer the consequences of their greed and recklessness.

“Cuts are already under way and far, far worse is promised with savage cuts proposed in health, education and social welfare. With this Pre-Budget submission and with the Charter launched today you have drawn a line in the sand which Government must not cross. But we all have a major fight ahead of us.

“It is clear that this Government has no intention of making the wealthy pay their fair share. Instead we are facing cuts that will devastate public services and, if they get away with them, these cuts will hit the most vulnerable hardest, including people with disabilities.

“What we need is unity across progressive political parties, the trade union movement, representative organisations such as yourselves and, above all, the general public in opposition to savage cuts, against NAMA and for a better way forward.

“So in supporting the issues set out here today I would urge you to organise, educate and agitate, to mobilise people on the streets in support of these demands and in unity with all those seeking a fairer society.” ENDS

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