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We need a “threshold of decency” on disability supports- Mac Lochlainn

21 March, 2013 - by Pádraig Mac Lochlainn


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice and Equality, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD, has repeated his call for a “threshold of decency” on disability supports and a political consensus that people with disabilities would have their dignity and rights maintained and their families would not be abandoned as a result of on-going cutbacks.
He repeated his call during a Dáil debate on cuts to disabled citizens and their carers today. The Donegal North East deputy said:
“The imagery from late last year of citizens with profound disabilities, protesting outside Leinster House at Minister Reilly’s cuts, struck a chord with the Irish people. The courage and dignity of those who braved the elements to make their stand shone a light on the reality. Despite the promises of both the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste in the final pre-election leaders’ debate last year, their government has proceeded to enforce cut after cut on those with disabilities in this state and their families and carers. Their broken promises on disabilities are the cruellest of all.
“If this government took a Kango hammer and tore up our roads, there would be uproar but that is exactly what they have been doing to support services for people with disability”.
“When Fianna Fáil was in government they cut the Disability Allowance, the Carers’ Allowance and Carers’ Benefit, and the Blind Person’s Allowance not once but twice. Of course, the removal of the Christmas double payments also heavily impacted on the disabled and their families and carers. All of this meant that Fianna Fáil cut the income of disabled people and their carers by 10% over two budgets.
“This has to stop. We need a threshold of decency. We need a political consensus that people with disabilities will have their dignity protected and rights maintained and that their families will not be abandoned”.
He concluded:
“The nine leading disability organisations in Ireland have spoken out on this scandal.
“They have outlined a vision for people with disabilities in Ireland and called on the government to take urgent action on three key areas:
1. Halt reductions in the basic standard of living of people with disabilities requiring welfare supports. People with disabilities are most likely to experience real poverty because on top of the recent cuts in benefit levels and new charges, they also have to continue to pay for extras required due to their disability.
2. Ensure funding for the services needed by people with disabilities. Cutting the services required by people with disabilities not only undermines their lives, it also leads to a growing public burden in terms of hospital stays and expensive care costs.
3. Publish and show leadership on an ambitious Implementation Plan for the National Disability Strategy in keeping with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, where people have dignity, individual autonomy and full and effective participation in Irish society. People’s faith in Ireland’s eventual recovery depends not just on economic measures. Social protection for all people through this long, stressful period needs to be central to the “Government‘s recovery plans. Government actions must address social inclusion and cohesion.
“Sinn Féin fully endorses their call and we call on the government to take up this challenge and honour their promises to our most vulnerable citizens.
ends

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