Disability Measures in Sinn Féin Budget 2017 proposals launched by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD
Disability Rights and Older Persons Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD today launched Sinn Féin’s Disabilities document ‘Rights, Respect and Inclusion’ as part of their Alternative Budget 2017.
Speaking at the launch the Cavan Monaghan TD said:
“The fact that Sinn Féin are launching this document on the first day back of the Dáil’s resumption shows very clearly the importance we place on the issue of Disability Rights.
“Disability is a societal issue, affecting people of all ages and their families, directly and indirectly. We want to see a society in which all citizens, including those with disabilities, can play a full and independent part in all aspects of life, relying, as far as possible, on mainstream services for health, education and employment but with the support of tailored disability services where necessary.
“Budget 2017 provides a real opportunity to invest in frontline services and address significant deficits in service delivery. Sinn Féin has identified a number of areas where we would invest in both additional staff and services that have the potential to alleviate the pressures across the disability services.
“We would invest €54.812 million into the prioritisation of disability services. This would include employing 600 additional front line staff, 500,000 additional personal assistance hours, more funding for neuro rehab teams and transitional services and a 20% increase in respite care services.
“Furthermore, as part of our budget proposals we have included a proposal that would extend medical card entitlement to all children in receipt of Domiciliary Care Allowance. Some of our sickest and most vulnerable citizens continue to go without medical cards. This is despite promises by government to build compassion into the system. We need that compassion now.
“Some of our key measures provide improved education supports and better employment opportunities for people with a disability. These measures include a 15% increase in resource teaching hours and the immediate funding of the Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities.
“Greater income supports would be introduced including an increase in the Disability Allowance and Blind Pension of €5.50, an increase in Carer’s Benefit and Carer’s Allowance of €3 per week, raising the Living Alone Allowance by €9.50 per month, increase the Fuel Allowance by 3 extra weeks and increase the funding available for Housing Adaptation Grants by €15.75 million.
“We also recognise that transport can mean the difference between inclusion and exclusion for people with disabilities. Sinn Féin is committed to using a combination of tax incentives, accessibility clauses in public procurement contracts and direct investment to promote transport inclusion. Alongside the €12.5 million scheme to refund VRT/VAT to taxi drivers who purchase wheelchair-accessible vehicles, we are proposing a capital investment of €10 million to make all bus stops wheelchair accessible.
“Sinn Féin’s budget will deliver a better Ireland and ensure rights, respect and inclusion for all of its people” concluded Deputy Ó Caoláin.