Disable Inequality, a major Election campaign launched today (Wednesday 13th January), is calling on the next Government to establish a Cabinet Minister for Disability Inclusion. It is also calling for an end to the anomaly that means that people with disabilities cannot access many Government job activation schemes and the reinstatement of the €150m which has been taken out of disability health services since 2008. This is a grassroots movement election campaign that will engage the public and candidates across all 43 constituencies.
There are 600,000 people living with a disability in Ireland – that’s 13% of the population – a number that is growing as Ireland’s population ages. Two in three people know or care for an immediate family member, a friend or a neighbour living with a disability.
Despite this, according to John Dolan, Campaign Director of Disable Inequality, disability has never received the political leadership, attention and commitment that it needs to make Ireland an equal country. “This campaign”, he added, “is the first election campaign that gives people with disabilities and their families one focus and one voice.”
“Disable Inequality is simple,” Mr Dolan said. “With just two words it tells us that it is not the disability that we live with that is disabling. It is the inequality that we live with that is disabling.”
He continued “Ireland is a deeply unequal country for people with disabilities. It is a country where discrimination, segregation and bias is a daily experience. We’ve had lots of policies, we’ve had strategies, we’ve had promises. But we have never had a serious political commitment to ending the unfairness that is a systemic part of life for thousands of people and their families. In this year of election and reflection we must disable inequality for once. The power of this campaign is in people’s stories, so we have mobilised our grassroots to tell their stories, to highlight the inequalities faced, one story at a time.”
He stated “People with disabilities are among the poorest and most marginalized groups in the country. Eighty percent are unemployed. Only one in two go beyond secondary education. People with disabilities can’t access many Government job activation schemes because they are not considered to be on the live register. People with disabilities have to give 24 hours notice if they want to travel by train. Children with disabilities often can’t attend their local schools because of the lack of basic supports. Over 3,000 are still locked up in outdated institutions. Does that seem fair to you?”
Mr Dolan concluded “Disable Inequality is asking the electorate to put fairness and possibility for their neighbours to the fore when they go to vote, and to consider that people with disability routinely experience poverty, exclusion and loss of hope for their future. People with disabilities in every constituency will be telling their stories of inequality and bias. These stories will build up a book of evidence that will be presented to political leaders and candidates during the General Election 2016 campaign.”
For more information contact:
Jacqueline Grogan, Communications Officer, Tel: 086 388 2600
John Dolan, Campaign Director