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Disability groups protest (as Bill was passed 26 May)

category dublin | health / disability issues | news report author Thursday June 02, 2005 19:50author by Paula Geraghty Report this post to the editors

Photos by Paula ©
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Disability groups protest as Bill is passed

Michael O'Regan
27/05/2005
http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/ireland/2005/0527/1995092640HM8DISABLE.html

Over 500,000 people had expressed concern about the Disability Bill, the Dáil was told. The Bill passed all stages despite Opposition criticism of its guillotining by the Government.

Disability groups protested outside Leinster House yesterday as TDs debated the measure.

The claim about public concern was made by Finian McGrath (Ind, Dublin North Central), who said there should be a clear and unequivocal right to an assessment of need which would not be resource-dependent.

"Of all households headed by a person with a disability, 54.4 per cent live below the 60 per cent poverty line. While the national rate of unemployment has fallen below 4.6 per cent, it is estimated that at least 70 per cent of people with disabilities are unemployed."

Mr McGrath said people with disabilities had to meet the extra costs of having a disability. The Bill was an opportunity not only to bring people into the mainstream of society, but to deal with the issue of the interaction of poverty and disability.

Minister of State for Justice Frank Fahey said he was satisfied the Bill supported the right to an assessment.

"Any person who considers that he or she has a disability can apply for assessment as outlined in the Bill. Those who apply for an independent assessment will, therefore, receive one."

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Audio and video at
http://www.rte.ie/news/2005/0526/disability.html

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author by Paula Geraghtypublication date Thu Jun 02, 2005 19:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

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paula0410.jpg

author by :-)publication date Thu Jun 02, 2005 23:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Paula® this community needs more and more recognition. How many people in €urope are suffering disabilities from improperly enforced traffic legislation?
A society is judged not by its most noisy citizens, nor its richest, nor by its presidents or prime ministers, rather it is judged by the esteem with which it holds its weakest.
A civilised society always pushes the definition of what is meant by "weakest". The people in the photos above have found strength in their common action.
thank you all of ye.® (if you use the search engine for "to make postcards" there's one image @ the very least, from the heart of solidarity for all of you) = recognition of who we are.

author by Miriam Cottonpublication date Sat Jun 25, 2005 11:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The passing of the disability bill is indeed a disgrace. I have asked for a disability category to be added to the list of searchable topics. Does anyone support me on this? If so, can you let Indymedia editorial know? We need a unified forum/voice to express our concerns.

author by C. - 1 of IMCpublication date Sat Jun 25, 2005 14:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The concept of adding a disability category has been discussed on the editorial lists and, while there is support in principle, one concern raised is that there is enough content. This is a sort of chicken and an egg situation - if there is no category it looks like there is no sapce for these issues on Indymedia. But if there are no stories posted that could be classed under this topic then it looks like there is no demand.

Recently the Mayday2004 topic was updated to 'Summit mobilisations' so that G8 material could have it's proper place - this was after a request for a G8 topic was raised and a compromise was suggested. Workers Issues, another addition to the list of topics was quite successfull in attracting new content to the site.

There are currently 19 topics - one or two may be retired or changed in the near future and there is probably space for a couple more but imho these should reflect content that is on the site rather than issues we would like to see. Can I suggest that people put disability related stories under the topic of 'Rights and Freedom' as this one is - it will make it much easier to reclassify material if the new topic is added and also allow people to see what demand there is for the topic.

Also, can I suggest that discussion on topics takes place on the live Indymedia related thread
http://www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=70147
so that we don't derail this important story with navel gazing etc.

author by miriam via eeekkkkkkpublication date Sat Jun 25, 2005 14:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The disability articles and stories that I write could be classified under several - or even all of your categories sometimes. As mentioned in the Kathy Sinnott interview, 340,000 people have disabilities in Ireland (2002 census). This does not include people with autistic spectrum disorders and there has been an explosion in the number of children suffering from these conditions. Add to these figures the carers, other family members and professionals who work with or for people with disability and the figure rises to at least a million and a half people. The disability lobby is therefore huge – bigger than any other. However, it has rarely been unified in bringing its interests to public attention. For practical reasons, each group (say Down syndrome, Asperger syndrome, sight impaired) work separately because their needs differ. Beyond a certain point, though, we all find that we are up against the same issues: bad legislation, prejudice, educational difficulties, inertia or downright contempt at political level. There is chronic under-resourcing and many people live in bad conditions. Access to therapeutic services can be appalling, depending on where you live. In recent years there has been some attempt to bring all voices together but that has sort of fallen away again. There is an urgent need for a unified forum and IMC seems to me to be an ideal place to start a general, open discussion for everyone. It may take a while for word to get around but I’m sure a disability category would become very popular. I would certainly do my utmost to promote it.
My next article is to be on the Disability Bill that was recently passed in the Dail on a day when few TDs were there and so a small number of people have decided the future of disability in Ireland for the medium-long-term by voting in legislation that the disability lobby vehemently opposes. There is a big meeting taking place in Limerick on Monday 27th June about it - all party leaders have been invited and I am going to write it up. As part of the same interview Im going to interview Caomhaoin O Caolain who was recently suspended from the Dail for two days for asking Betie Ahern some tough questions about this issue. Hardly a bloody squeak in the mainstream press about this outrageous political intimidation, of course.
I hope all this will help to persuade anyone who feels reluctant.
Many thanks again
Miriam

 
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