Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Government cynically long-fingering Disability Bill until after elections

13 May, 2004

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has slammed the Government's continued refusal to publish the Disability Bill saying it is cynically putting the issue on the long-finger until after the elections.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said: "This Bill has been promised since 1996. Every legislative programme has listed it as a priority for the past year, yet it has still not appeared.

"The Disability Legislation Consultation Group made their recommendations four months ago and there is absolutely no reason why the Government should not be able to publish at least the Heads of the Bill, if not the actual Bill itself. The fact that they have not done so, coupled with recent comments from the Minister for Justice and other government members suggests that the Bill will be not be rights-based and may in fact be even worse than the previously withdrawn Disability Bill which was seriously flawed. If this is the case it is a complete betrayal of disabled people, their families and allies.

"The Taoiseach's claim in the Dáil yesterday that the Bill will be "better than anything else in the world" sounds incredibly similar to the false promises made in the run-up to the last elections.

"As we all know, pre-election promises from this Government are not worth the glossy manifesto paper they are printed on. Given that the Government do not seem to be prepared to publish this Bill in advance of the elections, thereby enabling people to make an informed opinion, it appears that the Taoiseach is once again cynically and callously making grandiose claims which they have no intention of delivering on.

"If the Government are to have any credibility on this issue the Disability Bill needs to be published immediately." ENDS

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