There is some truth in the cliché that sometimes it is the things that people don’t say that actually speaks volumes.
The failure of the Taoiseach to mention disability even once while setting out his election programme at the recent Fine Gael Ard Fheis was deeply disappointing. Enda Kenny’s total exclusion of disability inclusion issues, and the 600,000 people affected by disability, in his half hour long address, strongly highlights the lack of priority or understanding being given to this issue as part of the “recovery”.
Disabled people and their families will see their deliberate omission by An Taoiseach as a slap in the face, especially as they have experienced deep cuts in funding and services in recent years, during the term of the present Government. This comes after the commitment of Enda Kenny, during the last general election campaign, that disability would be his priority social inclusion issue if elected to government. It is totally incomprehensible that disabled people are now not being acknowledged in the much referenced ‘recovery.”
The Disable Inequality Campaign has made all of the political parties aware of our priorities in advance of both the party conferences and the General Election. Put simply, we believe that now is the moment to fundamentally tackle disability exclusion, which has always been at the heart of discrimination in our society.
Our campaign has been born out of a frustration that people with disabilities in this country shouldn’t have to continue to wait to be afforded the same opportunities as every other Irish citizen. We are mobilising our 600,000 activists nationwide to put disability centre stage as an election issue about fairness and opportunity for our disabled neighbours and friends.
We are gravely disappointed that the Taoiseach in his set-piece Ard Fheis speech chose to ignore disability. We want to be clear that the Disable Inequality Campaign will be advising people with disabilities and their families not to support candidates or parties who are reluctant to take positive action on disability. Disability issues have remained on the periphery of the political agenda for far too long.
c/o Disability Federation of Ireland