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Anderson calls for full implementation of the European Strategy for Persons with Disabilities

8 December, 2015 - by Martina Anderson MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has pledged her support for full implementation of the European Strategy for Persons with Disabilities, following a meeting with Disability Action last week.

Speaking after the meeting, Ms Anderson, Vice Chair of the Intergroup on Disability in the EU Parliamentsaid,

"Across Europe there are 80 million people with disabilities who are facing a serious risk of poverty, social exclusion, and discrimination. Relative to the six counties, that figure is 374,646. 

"A study by the European Consortium of Foundations on Human Rights and Disability has revealed that welfare spending cuts in some Member States have caused disproportionately high job losses among people with disabilities, reduced unemployment benefits, and limited access to basic services.

"As Vice Chairperson of the Intergroup on Disability in the European Parliament, I wanted to engage with the disability sector to hear what issues affect them and to develop a relationship so that they can feed into the governance of Europe and have an opportunity to influence European policy. 

"Therefore in order to fully inform myself of the issues facing people with disabilities, I met with Disability Action in Derry, in order to gain first-hand knowledge of how it ensures that people with disabilities attain their full rights as citizens, by supporting inclusion, influencing Government policy and changing attitudes in partnership with disabled people.

"In addition to discussing the reports that I have responsibility for, such as the opinion on the UN Report on People with Disabilities, a number of issues regarding health and travel matters that affect people with disabilities were raised.

"It was a very productive meeting and we have agreed to continue working together, including with our MLAs and councillors, to ensure we are working as best we can on their behalf, at all levels of governance."

Patricia Bray, Statutory Duty and Policy Officer Disability Action commented:

We believe that engaging directly with disabled people to ensure their voices are heard is a vital component in securing their rights as individuals.  

"In support of this we welcomed the opportunity to host a meeting bringing together disabled people with MEP Martina Anderson, Vice Chairperson of the Intergroup on Disability to discuss the main issues and barriers faced by disabled people in their everyday lives.”

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