Tuesday 23rd February – People with disabilities have today held a protest outside Government Buildings to highlight the fact that they have largely been ignored by the outgoing Government and to remind the incoming Government that they are citizens of this country and that their voices must be heard.
Martin Naughton from the Disable Inequality campaign said “There are 600,000 people with disabilities living in Ireland. Together we are one of the largest groups of voters in Ireland, and yet the previous Government continually did not listen to us. We have never received the political leadership, attention and commitment that we need to make Ireland a fairer country for people with disabilities. We need the new Government, in whatever form it may take, to listen and act.”
Attending the protest, Rachel Creevey said “Ireland is a deeply unequal country for people with disabilities. In order for me to attend today, I had to give Irish Rail 24 hours’ notice that I would be travelling by Dart! How is that equality? Equality would be being able to turn up at the Dart station the same as everyone else and be able to get on a train without needing to give notice.”
Owen Collumb said “I want people to vote to disable inequality, for far too long people with disabilities have been treated as second class citizens. If you become disabled tomorrow, you are looking at a life imprisoned in an institution or your own home. The alternative is a society where people with disabilities are working, contributing to society, and being equal citizens. Does this seem an impossible task for the next government?”
Patrick Flanagan stated “There are a huge number of people with disabilities institutionalised in their own home and their voice isn’t being heard. We are here today to see that changes are made to give them the opportunity to live the lives of their choosing.”
Jonathan Hanna said “no more to tokenism we want to be equal with everyone else.”
Mr Naughton concluded “The previous Government didn’t listen to us while they were here in Government buildings, so we may as well protest when they are not here. Our voice needs to be heard, we are not going away!”
For picture editors: Pictures from Paul Sherwood Agency. Protest will include people with disabilities carrying banners.
John Dolan, Campaign Director
Jacqueline Grogan, DFI – 086 3882600
Allen Dunne, Dep CEO DFI -086 8502112