Government failing those with disabilities – Ó Snodaigh
Sinn Féin TD and Spokesperson for Social Protection Aengus Ó Snodaigh has today called into question the Government’s commitment to employability supports for people with disabilities trying to access jobs.
The lack of action thus far by Labour/Fine Gael government and their failure to act on job creation and supports for disabled, or even publish the long awaited Comprehensive Employment Strategy for people with a disability is causing continued marginalisation and jobs to be lost once again for this large group in society.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:
“The Labour/ Fine Gael Government Minister for Equality Aodhán Ó Ríordáin committed to publishing a long awaited and overdue Comprehensive Employment Strategy for people with a disability months ago. This has yet to see the light of day.
“At the same time, the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has, as recently as last week, failed to extend a successful pilot project, The Walk Peer project in Louth, which was highly effective. This exemplary model has been discontinued and no alternative is in sight.
“In May 2015 after consultations with the relevant stakeholders, Sinn Féin published our comprehensive proposals for immediate actions from the Department of Social Protection, A Fair Recovery for Jobseekers with Disabilities.
“We are committed to ensuring that jobseekers with disabilities have the fair recovery that is their right and that they are not left behind. Our plan made practical and immediate proposals which could be acted on now such as opening mainstream jobseeker supports to people with disabilities on a voluntary basis and ending the exclusion of young people with disabilities from the Youth Guarantee; increasing the capacity and promotion of specialist employment supports such the Employability Service and the Reasonable Accommodation Fund schemes; securing rollout of good practice and in particular that the positive concepts developed by Walk Peer are developed and replicated by others; developing a new facility to voluntarily suspend claims, saving both the applicant and the department significant time and resources.
“I call on the Minister to immediately publish the Comprehensive Strategy, to act upon it and to ensure that Budget 2016 will enhance the supports for and employability of people with a disability.
“There are 600,000 people with disabilities in this country who continue to feel that they’ve been left behind as the economy is recovering. They have endured unacceptable cuts to services and supports since 2008 and now have a reasonable expectation that Budget 2016 will deliver concerted action backed by the necessary resources; as the Disability Federation of Ireland put it, ‘No recovery without us’. Sinn Féin want a Fair Recovery for people with a disability and for disabled people who want to work who have been unsupported and whose rights to join the labour market have been devalued by the Government’s disjointed approach to their employment.”