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Does That Seem Fair To You?
If we want to build a better, more equal Ireland for everyone, disability must be a defining issue in Election 2016.
Almost 600,000 people – that’s one in eight of us – are living with a disability. Two in three of us know of an immediate family member, a friend or a neighbour living with a disability.
Disability increases with age; this means that it will be an issue that many of us will live with, either personally or as carers, at some stage in our lives. The last eight years of recession have had a disproportionate and brutal impact on people with disabilities who are now among the poorest and most excluded in the country.
Election 2016 gives us the chance to change this. To change futures. People with disabilities want to make a meaningful contribution to the development and renewal of our country. But we need everyone’s support to achieve our potential. In Election 2016, we are asking you to vote for candidates who are committed to taking positive action on disability issues.
One vote at a time, we will disable inequality.
Disability is Everyone’s Issue
· Almost 600,000 people are living with a disability in Ireland.
· 2 in every 3 of us know a family member, a friend or a neighbour living with a disability.
· At least 1 in 10 adults of working age have a disability (15-64 years).
· 1 in 3 adults over 65 has a disability.
· There are nearly 190,000 family carers in Ireland; two thirds are women caring for someone with a disabling condition.
Make Disability a Priority in the New Programme for Government
The next Government can demonstrate its ambition and commitment to people with disabilities by ensuring that these 3 key priorities are in the new Programme for Government.
1. Cabinet Leadership
Establish a Cabinet Minister for Disability Inclusion to drive and co-ordinate a whole of government approach, including the ratification of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD) no later than the end of 2016.
2. Fair Income and Work Opportunities
Increase Disability Allowance, starting with €20 in Budget 2017.
Introduce a Disability tax credit, similar to the Blind Persons tax credit.
Make all employment activation programmes eligible to people with disabilities.
3. Independence, Access, Choice and Community
Increase the Disability Budget by €50m each year from 2016 with further investment in community services and supports programmes for people with disabilities.
Increase the budget for Personal Assistant Services by a minimum of €7m each year for the next three years.
Guarantee that medical cards are awarded and retained on need, not on employment status.
Ensure all education programmes provide supports for the full inclusion of people with disabilities.
Ensure all public transport, facilities and structures are accessible for people with disabilities.
Barriers, Difficulties and Biases
People living with a disability experience barriers, difficulties, biases and inequalities everyday. Our most recent research tells us that almost half of people with disabilities, or their family members, have incurred extra costs due to illness or disability.
The cost of disability is estimated to be an additional €207 per week. These extra costs are for necessities like medications, transport, housing adaptation, extra heating costs or therapy supports. If you are living with a disability, you are likely to be among the poorest and most deprived in our country.
Our research also tells us that 75% of Irish people agree that the Government should make medical cards available to people based on need, not income.
Yet, people with disabilities and their families are constantly anxious about whether they will have a medical card or not. Many are fearful to earn an independent income or return to work in case the medical card and other essential supports are taken away.
Disabled people and their families are twice as likely to experience unemployment.
If you are living with a disability and you want to work you need to have access and supports to participate in the same Government training and job activation programmes as everyone else.
1 in 4 people with a disability can’t use public transport because it’s not accessible.
If you use a wheelchair you have to give 24 hours’ notice to travel by train. Buses are inaccessible to many and there are fewer accessible taxis than before the recession.
A substantial €136m has been cut from essential disability services since 2008.
Vital supports to everyday living such as Personal Assistance Services, Mobility Allowance and the Motorised Transport Grant have also been cut, making everyday life extremely restrictive for many.
Children are being denied entrance to local schools due to their disabilities.
A quarter of children in Ireland have some form of special educational need. Yet many are denied entrance to their local school because of the lack of supports, segregating them from their brothers, sisters and play-mates.
Funding for the Housing Adaptation Grant Scheme has seen cuts of 56% since 2010.
These cuts, as well as lengthy waiting lists for social housing, have left people living in intolerable conditions.
Three things you can do to support the campaign
1. Tell Your Story –
Go to www.disableinequality.ie
Disable Inequality is collecting stories of unfairness – your stories – from across the country.
We will use this book of evidence to show political leaders and your candidates that it is time to end discrimination against people living with disability.
By adding your voice, you can be part of a movement to create a more equal Ireland.
2. Contact your Candidates
If you care about the rights of people living with disability make sure your public representatives care too.
Tell them that disability matters – at your doorstep, at public meetings, by letter or email.
Go to www.disableinequality.ie to send your message to your candidates.
3. Vote to End Discrimination
You can vote to end discrimination against people living with a disability.
Help us Disable Inequality by supporting candidates who are strongly committed to taking positive action on disability issues. National Poll carried out for the Disability Federation of Ireland by Ireach Insights (October 2015)
 Cullinan, Lyons & Nolan (2014). The Economics of Disability.
 Ireach insights (October 2015)
 Watson & Nolan (2011) A social portrait of people with disabilities in Ireland. ESRI
 Banks, J. & McCoy, S. (2011) ‘A Study on the Prevalence of Special Educational Needs’. NCSE
 DoEHLG Annual Housing Statistics 2010-2014