Disable Inequality Key Asks:
1. The appointment of a full Minister for Disability Inclusion.
2. That people with disabilities have a fair income.
3. That people with disabilities have the same access to supports and services as everyone else.
Fianna Fáil is ambitious for Ireland and its citizens. We are steadfast in our belief that if Ireland is to be a thriving and progressive country economic recovery must be felt by all sections of society, not just the privileged few.
Fianna Fáil has set out a range of comprehensive proposals to support the inclusion of people with disabilities. As a Party we are committed to creating a more inclusive society and to dismantling barriers that prevent people with disabilities from fully participating in society.
Fianna Fáil has committed to having a Minister at the Cabinet table with responsibility for disability issues. We want this Minister to drive and co-ordinate disability inclusion. We will change the role of the Minister of Social Protection to become the Minister of Social Protection, Disability & Equality, moving disability from the Department of Justice & Equality.
Having a Minister for Disability at the Cabinet table demonstrates our commitment to placing disability inclusion at the core of the next Government.
In Government Fianna Fáil will recognise the additional costs that people with disabilities face. One of our priorities is improving income adequacy for those with a disability that will recognise the additional costs a person with a disability can experience in their everyday life.
Fianna Fáil will introduce a €10 Cost of Disability Top up Payment which will be paid to those in receipt of Disability Allowance; Blind Pension; Invalidity Pension & Carers Allowance. This payment will be in addition to a further €10 increase in an individual’s basic social welfare payment, resulting in a €20 weekly increase overall.
In addition, Fianna Fáil will also abolish prescription charges and reduce the Drugs Payment Scheme Threshold from €144 to €100. Furthermore, we will abolish water charges for a period of five years and restore funding to the Housing Adaptation Grant. These measures, coupled with our commitment to increasing social welfare payments and recognising the additional costs of a disability, will have a real and measurable impact on the lives of people with a disability.
As part of our measures to support the inclusion of people with disabilities we will double personal assistant hours from 1.3m hours to 2.6m hours. We recognise that access to personal assistants is crucial to allow people with disabilities to lead full and independent lives.
Furthermore, we will start the process of ending the exclusion of people with disabilities from mainstream activation measures. To that end we will increase the MOMENTUM Programme by 20% or 1,200 places on a voluntary basis for people in receipt of Disability Allowance. In addition we will also extend the Wage Subsidy Scheme for those in receipt of the Partial Capacity Benefit. We believe it is vital to support people with disabilities into the labour market and minimise the flow into long-term unemployment.
The current waiting lists for essential therapies for children with developmental delays and disabilities are appalling. This is damaging children and affecting their future outcomes. Fianna Fáil will radically overhaul early intervention services for children and we are committed to putting in place new Early Intervention Teams on-site in pre-schools and primary schools.
These multi-disciplinary teams will consist of Speech and Language Therapists, Paediatric Occupational and Physical therapists. This would be a new point of departure for children with developmental delays and special needs in Ireland, ensuring that children can be assessed for developmental delays at an early age, receive early interventions and on-going continuity of care by the same group of professional therapists.
In Government Fianna Fáil will also ensure the provision of a medical card for all children whose carer is in receipt of the Domiciliary Care Allowance and we will also ensure that there is a more humane and flexible regime for discretionary medical cards so that people with serious illnesses or disabilities which are causing them undue financial hardship will receive a discretionary medical card.
Fianna Fáil does not believe in a two tier society and a two tier Ireland. We want an Ireland in which people with disabilities people are recognised as full and equal citizens; we want an Ireland in which people with disabilities have an adequate income and a decent standard of living; we want an Ireland in which people with disabilities can live in their homes and their communities; we want a fairer Ireland for all and it is our goal that this objective is realised.