‘Disable Inequality Campaign’ reaction to Joan Burton’s Party Conference Speech
Speaking immediately after Joan Burton’s televised Party Conference speech, John Dolan, the Campaign Director for the Disable Inequality Campaign, expressed his disappointment at the lack of priority given to Disability in the Labour leader’s address.
Mr Dolan said he viewed it as deeply disappointing and unacceptable that the Labour leader had not availed of the opportunity in unveiling her election programme to give a strong commitment that the next cabinet would contain a senior minister with responsibility for Disability Inclusion. The inclusion of a minister in the next cabinet is a key priority for the ‘Disable Inequality Campaign’ and has been identified as central to the work of the next government. The Disable Inequality Campaign made all the political parties aware of their priorities in advance of their party conferences in recent weeks.
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.
Mr Dolan did acknowledged that the Tánaiste committed generally to employment for people with disabilities in her address this evening. He said: “The commitment to disabled people being supported and enabled to work is welcomed. Yet there was no details as to the resources to be invested and the targets for employment over the next five years. To ensure that such a broad commitment becomes a reality there is a definite need for a minister at the cabinet table”
“The Labour Party can rightly be acknowledged for delivering on ‘people’s rights issues’ over past decades through legislation – and people with disabilities have also benefited from this. Yet some areas also require coordinated action to deliver supports and services – and that is what is urgently needed in 2016.”
“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.”
“The next Government must immediately establish a Cabinet Minister for Disability Inclusion to drive and coordinate whole of government measures, including ratification and implementation of the UNCRPD. We are gravely disappointed that the Tánaiste has failed to give a positive commitment in this regard. 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.”
Dolan concluded,”We are also conscious that commitments made before the last election were not honoured. The next Government must commence an action plan on disability immediately on appointment – and we will be carefully marking progress from the start of the next administration”
John Dolan, CEO, Disability Federation of Ireland