“GOOD INTENTIONS NOT GOOD ENOUGH”
‘Disable Inequality’ reaction to Micheál Martin’s Árd Fheis Speech
Representatives of recently launched ‘Disable Inequality’ campaign has welcomed the inclusion of disability services in a speech by Micheál Martin at the Fianna Fáil Árd Fheis today (Saturday 16th January). The ‘Disable Inequality’ campaign is designed to ensure that the right to equality for people with disabilities is a priority issue in Election 2016 – and in the new Programme for Government.
Following the speech, John Dolan, Disable Inequality Campaign Director and CEO of the Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) stated, “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 robust plan implemented, which could end the unfairness that is a systemic part of life for thousands of people with disabilities and their families. It is a country where discrimination, segregation and bias is a daily experience for too many people”.
Dolan said, “There are many day to day disability issued referenced in the Fianna Fáil leader address and this is welcomed; such as the provision of therapy services, focus on children and education, special needs, mental health and a commitment to empowering disabled people and reversing government cuts to disability services. Yet the core requirement, which will ensure implementation of policies and plans is the appointment of a full ‘Disability Inclusion’ cabinet minister – and sadly this was not included in Mr Martin’s address. Good intentions are simply not enough.
Micheal Martin in his leaders speech this evening has given us some cause for hope, however we will be seeking an urgent meeting with him to ensure that there is an ambitious ‘disability inclusion’ programme established, supported by the necessary governance mechanisms. We note that Fianna Fail’s election slogan is “AN IRELAND FOR ALL”. This Ireland surely must have ‘inclusion’ for the 600,000 people with disabilities and their families. We also expect that all parties and candidates in the forthcoming election will now prioritise ‘disability inclusion’.
Dolan went on to say, ‘The DISABLE INEQUALITY’ campaign, launched earlier this week, is calling for a full-time cabinet minister for disability inclusion, an Oireachtas committee on disability inclusion, a just and fair income for people with disabilities and the immediate reinstatement of €136 million to the health services, which was lost due to totally unjustifiable cutbacks’
John Dolan, CEO, DFI