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Government’s broken promises on disabilities are the cruellest of all - Mac Lochlainn

4 October, 2012 - by Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

He was speaking after participating in the annual pre-budget discussion forum organised by the Disability Federation of Ireland in the Mansion House, Dublin today. Deputy Mac Lochlainn called for a “threshold of decency” on disability supports and a political consensus that people with disabilities would have their dignity and rights maintained and their families would not be abandoned as a result of on-going cutbacks. The Donegal North East Deputy said: “The recent imagery of citizens with profound disabilities, who protested outside Leinster House at Minister Reilly’s cuts, struck a powerful chord with the Irish people. The courage and dignity of those who braved the elements to make their stand shone a light on the reality that despite the promises of both the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste in the final pre-election leaders’ debate last year, their government has proceeded to enforce cut after cut on those with disabilities in this state and their families and carers. Their broken promises on disabilities are the cruellest of all. “If this government took a Kango hammer and tore up our roads, there would be uproar but that is exactly what they have been doing to support services for people with disability. “This has to stop. We need a threshold of decency. We need a political consensus that people with disabilities will have their dignity protected and rights maintained and that their families will not be abandoned.” He concluded: “Recently, nine leading disability organisations in Ireland spoke out on this scandal.

They outlined a vision for people with disabilities in Ireland and called on the government to take urgent action on three key areas: 1. Halt reductions in the basic standard of living of people with disabilities requiring welfare supports. People with disabilities are most likely to experience real poverty because on top of the recent cuts in benefit levels and new charges, they also have to continue to pay for extras required due to their disability.

2. Ensure funding for the services needed by people with disabilities. Cutting the services required by people with disabilities not only undermines their lives, it also leads to a growing public burden in terms of hospital stays and expensive care costs.

3. Publish and show leadership on an ambitious Implementation Plan for the National Disability Strategy in keeping with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, where people have dignity, individual autonomy and full and effective participation in Irish society. People’s faith in Ireland’s eventual recovery depends not just on economic measures. Social protection for all people through this long, stressful period needs to be central to the Government‘s recovery plans. Government actions must address social inclusion / cohesion. Recent Government plans / cuts heighten these concerns in the run up to the Budget. Sinn Féin fully endorses their call and we call on the government to take up this challenge and honour their promises to our most vulnerable citizens. ends

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