Attitude toward people with disabilities ‘damning indictment of Government’ – Ó Caoláin
Speaking ahead of the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, Sinn Féin spokesperson for Disabilities, expressed his disappointment that another year has gone by with very little real and meaningful changes being made for those living with a disability in Ireland.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“On the 6th May this year, a dedicated Minister of State for Disabilities was appointed. This was, for obvious reasons, a source of hope for people living with disabilities and their families alike. Unfortunately, it has made little difference to their lives and their hopes have not been realised.
“It is a great source of regret that again, as we mark the dedicated day for people with disabilities, that the United Nations Convention for the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD) has still not been ratified; despite the repeated promises made by Minister of State McGrath that it would be ratified before the year’s end.
“Furthermore, the litany of problems in relation to the provision of disability services continues. Last week, it was reported that 2,500 children with disabilities are waiting to have their needs assessed. The situation in relation to waiting lists is deteriorating on a weekly basis and is a damning indictment of Government.
“There has been some progress made in relation to the official recognition of Irish Sign Language. However, I am conscious that this has yet to become a reality for the thousands of users across the country. The required legislation must be passed to recognise ISL as an official language as soon as possible and this is something Sinn Féin will push for in the coming period.
“I call on Minister of State Finian McGrath to urgently address all of the pressing issues faced by people living with disabilities. I sincerely hope that this time next year we will be able to say that things have improved for people challenged by a disability in this country.”