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Ó Caoláin - 50 million EURO for disabilities welcome but piecemeal approach must end

23 July, 2003

Sinn Féin's Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has welcomed the Government's allocation of 50 million EURO for improved services for people with disabilities but said that its piecemeal approach to funding must end. He said:

"This is a welcome allocation for much-needed improvement in services. But it must not be forgotten that people with disabilities had to protest before, during and after the Special Olympics to demand that the shortfall in funding be addressed urgently by the Government. As a result of the political pressure they have now relented. This shows a piecemeal and unplanned approach which must be replaced with properly planned funding based on the real needs of people with disabilities and in full consultation with their representative organisations.

"The Government must also clarify as a matter of urgency if they will remove the three year cap on CE schemes, on which many people with disabilities and disability organisations depend.

"This 50 million allocation for some of the most vulnerable people in our society is placed in perspective when we see that Tony O‚Reilly alone is set to gain a dividend of 20 million EURO from the Valentia break-up of the privatised Eircom." ENDS

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