Greater action needed to provide sport and physical activity for disabled people
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Disability, Mid Ulster MLA Geraldine Dougan called for full implementation of the Disability Sports Policy Agenda document 2006 - 2009, 'Achieving Equality in Sport and Physical Activity' and demanded greater action to provide sport and physical activity for disabled people
Ms Dougan said:
"This provides a research based approach that outlines exactly what needs to be done to secure the greatest possible level of sporting participation and increased access to physical activity provision for disabled persons.
"Sinn Féin fully supports all steps aimed at improving the quality of lives of disabled people. However, the introduction of section 75 has only achieved a reasonable level of access and provision for disabled people. Sinn Féin would like to see much greater levels of inclusion and equality of outcome as well as opportunity.
"These are an excellent set of policy proposals brought forward by Disability Sports NI. With the advent of the Review of Public Administration, the newly configured councils need to make even greater provision for equality measures. As it stands, leisure provision for children has proved a mighty task for local Government. All stakeholders involved with the disability sector need to continue to push hard for what are basic entitlements and rights for disabled people. Sinn Féin will do all that it can to ensure that groups such as the disabled have a voice and will be heard.
"All the agencies responsible for the provision of sport provision need to take full cognisance of the needs of disabled people, children, parents, and carers alike as this plan moves forward. Disability Sports NI have highlighted concerns about the approach to mainstreaming. An inter-departmental approach is vital when we are dealing with education, health and sports delivery.
"With some 20% of the population experiencing some type of disability levels of disability in the North of Ireland among the highest in Ireland and England. The baseline figures in this report show that we are not providing for or allowing disabled people the opportunity to exercise and participate fully in sporting and physical activity. The report also reveals that disabled people are showing an increased demand to participate in sports and physical activity. We need to go the extra mile to level the playing field." ENDS