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Ó Snodaigh slams government for 16% increase in disability discrimination

25 July, 2007

Responding to the Equality Tribunal annual report published today Sinn Féin Equality and Human Rights spokesperson TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh said he is deeply concerned with the reports finding that there has been a 16% increase in the number of cases of discrimination against people with a disability in the access of services in 2006 compared with 2005.
"I am deeply concerned that today's Equality Tribunal annual report illustrates with great urgency that those with disabilities needing to access services are experiencing even greater discrimination. Government needs to respond to this finding through legislation when it resumes in September.
"It is an outrageous fact that since the introduction of the Disability Act 2005 discrimination against people with disabilities in terms of access to services has actually increased by 16%. The Government's lack of commitment to this area has resulted in a squandered opportunity. Sinn Féin has campaigned both in the Dáil, local government and within communities for rights-based legislation which the government has chosen not to introduce.
"One positive step this government should take would be to harmonise the relevant equality provisions upwards to ensure at least equivalence with the 6-counties.
"In this state the requirement on service providers to make reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities is limited to adjustments involving a nominal cost only. By contrast in the 6-counties service providers are required to provide reasonable adjustments and to incur reasonable costs where necessary to do so.
"I am calling on the government to combat discrimination against those with disabilities by introducing amending legislation when the Dáil resumes in September. This should be done in the interests of real equality for people with disabilities and must be done in order to fulfil this government's obligation under the equivalence provisions of the Good Friday Agreement." CRÍOCH

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