Irish politicians urged to make disability rights a priority
24 January 2020 at 4:58 pm
The poverty level for people with disability in Ireland has more than doubled in the past decade
Advocates are calling for Irish political parties to commit to ending disability poverty and unemployment, warning of a “deepening crisis” facing Ireland’s disability community.
With Ireland’s general election set for 8 February, the Oireachtas Disability Group (ODG) – a cross-party/non-party group of disability advocates and representatives from the disability sector – has released its election manifesto demanding action on worsening living conditions for people with disability.
Around a quarter of Irish adults with a disability live in consistent poverty, compared to 11 per cent in 2011, while just 31 per cent of working age people with disability are working, compared to 71 per cent of the general population.
More than 1,400 people with disability under the age of 65 are inappropriately placed in nursing homes in Ireland, and 27 per cent of the nation’s homeless population have a disability.
Meanwhile the Irish Penal Reform Trust has said treatment of prisoners with disability is likely in contravention of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Ireland ratified in 2018.
In a statement, the ODG said there was a need for “immediate, all-government action to address the deepening crisis”.
“In the past week and ahead of the election we can see a broad consensus forming that we cannot continue with business as usual for the 643,131 people with disabilities who have seen no improvement since the dark days of the recession,” the group said.
The ODG is calling on Irish political parties and candidates to commit to ending disability poverty and unemployment, fixing the housing crisis, and ensuring children with disability are fully included in the education system.
It also wants better funding for services and supports in order to make disability rights a priority.
The group is inviting spokespeople from all the political parties to a National Disability Husting meeting on 31 January to “outline their vision to lead us out of crisis”.