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.
Sinn Féin’s proposals for disability inclusion are contained at the following link: www.sinnfein.ie/contents/disability-inclusion
Bringing disability inclusion to the Cabinet table
Equality for people with disabilities requires a holistic approach on the part of Government and Sinn Féin are proposing to make An Taoiseach specifically responsible for disability inclusion.
This would ensure a named person with overarching responsibility for the advancement of the rights of people with disabilities sits at the Cabinet table.
Dedicated staff in the Department of An Taoiseach would be allocated responsibility for driving the cross-departmental National Disability Strategy Implementation Plans, with the Taoiseach accountable to the Oireachtas.
A fair income
In order to begin to recognise the additional cost of disability, Sinn Féin are committed to increasing Disability Allowance by €20 per week.
We are also committing to the establishment of a Social Welfare Adequacy Commission. Its statutory function would be to annually advise the appropriate levels of social welfare rates and will include representatives of those impacted by decisions, including persons with disabilities.
Last year Sinn Féin published ‘A Fair Recovery for Jobseekers with Disabilities’: which you can find here:
We are committed in Government to:
- Issuing new guidance and roll-out new training to upskill, change the mind-set and increase the capacity of staff across all Intreo offices to better support all those with a disability who wish to work.
- Ending the exclusion of young people with disabilities from the Youth Guarantee Scheme. The Youth Guarantee must be opened on the basis of voluntary participation and we will introduce an additional 500 Momentum places for young recipients of Disability Allowance.
- Expanding and reforming the Employability Service to support an additional 1000 people with disabilities and ensure the positive working concepts developed by WALK PEER, which support young people with disabilities into mainstream further education and employment, continue and are replicated by others.
- Developing a facility within the Disability Allowance scheme to allow a person suspend their claim for a period of up to 12 months but have it reinstated promptly should they become unable to work again, without having to make a fresh application.
Equal access to supports and services
As part of the €3.3 billion investment programme for the wider health system detailed in ‘Better 4 Health – A Sinn Féin Plan for Universal Healthcare’, which you can find at www.sinnfein.ie/better4health we will introduce the following measures relating to disability services and supports:
- Award an automatic medical card to every child in receipt of the Domiciliary Care Allowance and introduce a secure medical card for adults with disabilities.
- Expand the Personal Assistant (PA) service by increasing PA hours by an additional 500,000 hours each year for three years.
- Increase the number of Speech and Language Therapists by 250, Occupational Therapists by 100, Physio Therapists by 100 and Psychologists by 150.
- Increase Respite Care Services by 20%.
- Develop 12 neuro-rehabilitation teams and 3 transitional units.
- Accelerate the move from congregated settings to integrated mainstream settings, and ensure funding is redistributed so that the main focus is on community rather than specialised settings.
- In addition to all of the above specific proposals, further increase the budget allocation to disability services by €125.7 million.
To make transport accessible Sinn Féin will:
- Introduce a scheme to refund VRT/VAT for taxi drivers who purchase a wheelchair accessible vehicle to make an additional 1,000 wheelchair accessible taxis available.
- Invest €187 million in a major infrastructure programme to make all public transport services fully wheelchair accessible by replacing non-wheelchair accessible vehicles for Bus Éireann subsidised services, constructing wheelchair accessible bus stops and making bus stations, railway stations and the train fleet accessible.
In the field of education we will:
- Reduce the pupil teacher ratio which currently stands at 27:1 by one point in year one and a further point in year two while concluding an analysis of the impact to determine the need for additional classrooms and schools arising, and introduce a capital programme to facilitate the further reduction of class sizes.
- Deliver further on the EPSEN Act 2004, prioritising entitlement to an Individual Education Plan with associated resources for every child with a disability.
- Increase resource teaching hours for children by 15% and provide 1,450 additional SNAs to facilitate greater access by children with special needs.
- Increase the number of psychologists in NEPS by 10% and ensure cover for maternity and other forms of extended leave.
- Extend funding supports for people with disabilities in higher education to part-time students to make education more accessible.