Don’t Leave Them Behind developed a pre-budget campaign requesting a living wage for all carers ,the removal of means testing for carers and the provision of the PUP allowance €350 per week for people with disabilities as a fair package for this cohort which contains over 1.1 million people .What was offered was a ting crumb from the billions the State plans to spend in 2022 . This madness must stop !
As the fall-out of Budget 2022 continues and the failure to support people with disabilities and carers starts to sink -in many people are frustrated by the failure of the political system to show any interest or concern for their demands for equal status and for their many requests for basic supports to live life normally.
The need to organise and develop our own voice is now vital ,we have seen many so called ” Disability Stakeholder Organisations ‘ rush out statements welcoming the budget and various issues contained therein , when we pointed out to these organisations that the figures issued by various Ministers was incorrect and that the projected inflation rate would wipe out the miserable €5 a week offered to people with disabilities and carers these organisation reversed that welcome .
It is clear that most of these so called ” Disability Stakeholders Organisations “ are compromised by the very fact that the State is funding their activities to the tune of nearly 100% .
Carers are saving the Irish State €6 Billion a year and number over 500,000 people with 650,000 people with disabilities in Ireland ,this brings the total to 1.1 million and we need to get organised and to start getting involved in the political system in whatever way you prefer , within a political party or independently .
For its part the State must start to deal with the barriers to participation in the democratic process .
A recent review presented to the Oireachtas Committee on Disability Matters pointed out some of the barriers to accessible voting for people with disabilities with disabled people facing many barriers to candidature including,
. Extra Costs of disability
. Accessibility barriers including unavailability of Irish sign Language interpreters or PAs ,inaccessible meeting venues ,information ,transport etc
. Failure of political parties to select disabled candidates
.Lack of supports for disabled people to engage with local government .
We support the call for all political parties to undertake a cross-party pledge to promote and support the election of disabled candidates and carers with reasonable accommodation be provided for disabled electoral candidates to remove accessibility barriers .
At local Government level ,councils must support people with disabilities to participate in the democratic process so facilitate their active citizenship.
We cannot allow a repeat of the situation that happened in Budget 2022 and the discrimination that takes place in Ireland to continue ,we must prevent that treatment we all received at the hands of the Irish State and the HSE during COVID 19 when we where abandoned and told to deal with critical situation ourselves and we watched specialists staff snapped up to work on HSE swabbing and contact tracing work.
Cares and people with disabilities must get involved in the democratic system and create a strong voice that will deliver our aims and objectives .