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British and Irish Governments must stand up for people with disabilities - Anderson

16 December, 2015 - by Martina Anderson MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called on the British and Irish Governments to stand up for those with disabilities, in our society.

Speaking during a debate in the European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg, Ms Anderson said,

"I recently met with Disability Action in Derry and it is evident that an Accessibility Directive is essential. Most people take access to things such as computers, ATMS, banking and transport for granted, but for the 80million disabled people across Europe access to these services is not always guaranteed.

"An Accessibility Directive would put obligations on Member States to take necessary measures including legislation to ensure Accessibility and it would support the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Ms Anderson continued:

"Britain is currently under a UN inquiry into disability rights violations, as a result of their welfare cuts and there is no doubt that spending cuts in member states, including my own constituency of the north of Ireland, have hurt people with disabilities the most.

"Ashamedly, the Irish Government is not without fault in its discrimination either, as it is among the only three member states of the European Union, along with Finland and the Netherlands that has not yet ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. What message is that sending to the 595,355 Irish people who are recorded as having a disability?

"So whilst the Accessibility Directive is welcome, it's long overdue. The onus is now on all member states, but particularly the British and Irish governments, to stand up for and accommodate those citizens who identify as having a disability." ENDS

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