Major Disability Rights Conference for Louth – Adams
Sinn Féin Leader and Louth and East Meath TD Gerry Adams is “urging all of those concerned about the rights of the disabled to attend a major conference organised by Sinn Féin to be held on the issue in the Carrickdale Hotel next Friday November 4th.”
Speaking today the Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said:
“Friday’s conference, entitled, 'Unite for Rights' is being organised by Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson who is the vice president of the European Parliament's disability intergroup.
“The conference will focus on disability rights and inclusion and will be addressed by human rights and disability experts, as well as MEPs. Among the participants will be Les Allamby from the Human Rights Commission, Monica Wilson from Disability Action and Ann Sofia, Human Rights Officer with the European Disability Forum. There will also be legal experts in disability and human rights law.
“The importance of this conference is evident in the failure of successive governments to introduce legislation to provide for disability rights or to implement international disability commitments.
“Three years ago the Fine Gael and Labour government scrapped the Mobility Allowance Scheme and the Motorised Transport Grant Scheme. There was no prior notice given to the various disability groups, or to the Dáil. The Ombudsman described it as a ‘bolt out of the blue.’
“Those in receipt of these benefits continued to access them. But thousands more disabled citizens were denied help with transport costs.
“In the intervening period the government promised to introduce new legislation that would provide individual payments toward transport costs for citizens with severe disabilities. In July the Tánaiste told the Dáil that the Heads of the Bill would be published. It didn’t happen.
“In response to a further question the Taoiseach could only say that he has asked for a report on the issue and that the issues are ‘quite complex.’
“This is just one example of the state failing the equality test when dealing with disabled citizens.
“Another example is the failure of the government to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Irish state signed the Convention in 2007, but it is one of two EU member states, along with Finland, who have not yet ratified the Convention.
“While it is hoped that the government will have enacted the convention before the end of this year this will be almost nine years after it signed the convention. And there is still uncertainty about the government meeting this timeframe.
“I would urge all of those concerned about the rights of the disabled to attend Friday’s Louth conference.”