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Ó Snodaigh sets out Sinn Féin commitment to people with disabilities

17 February, 2011 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Equality Aengus Ó Snodaigh today confirmed the party's commitment of support to people with disabilities and their families.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said “Sinn Féin are committed to prioritising support for people with disabilities and their families. This includes support in terms of income, services and advocacy.

“In our pre-budget submission we demonstrated that if a political choice to target the wealthy were made then cuts to disability related payments would not be necessary.

“Should we be elected to government, we are committed to immediately restoring these payments to their 2010 rate levels and to introduce a Cost of Disability Payment on a phased basis, to offset extra costs related to disability and in recognition of disproportionate rates of poverty and unemployment among people with disabilities.

“We are also committing to review the current Disability Act with a view to the introduction of a new rights-based Disability Act alongside robust enforcement mechanisms and to establish a Disability Ombudsman and a National Disability Strategy within the Department of the Taoiseach to set annual targets towards full delivery by 2016. In addition we want to publish a National Carers’ Strategy to secure an adequate income, employment and social opportunities, health and wellbeing supports for all family carers, including young carers specifically.

“People with disabilities have been a target for government cuts both directly and indirectly. Their incomes have been cut, services are under increasing strain and funding to the voluntary organisations that provide services and advocate for people with disabilities have also been cut. Sinn Féin identified €150 million to ease the recruitment embargo on the public service which is have a serious impact on service delivery including disability services. And I will be publishing specific proposals this Friday relating to the community and voluntary sector which aim to ensure these services are protected including their advocacy functions.

“This is our commitment to everyone affected by disability. This will be a priority in any negotiations around a programme for government that we may be involved in. Failing that, if we remain on the opposition benches, we will ensure that these issues are kept at the top of the political agenda.” ENDS

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