One of the latest organisations to endorse the demand for a local Bill of Rights is the Disabled Police Officers Association (DPOA) which has 20 amputees among its 240 members.
“Many of us are physically disabled but all of us have a mental illness of some sort due to the Troubles,” said Elaine Hampton, who will be speaking tomorrow in Stormont.
She suffers from post traumatic stress disorder following her service with the RUC in Newry and Armagh in the mid-1990s.
“We are mainly interested in the rights of the disabled. We believe there needs to be a special bill for Northern Ireland because of the impact of the Troubles,” she said.
Rights to access to buildings and facilities is becoming an increasing problem for her members as they get older.
One double stroke victim was recently asked to climb two flights of stairs to access psychological counselling.
“We believe that with a Bill of Rights these things would not happen in the first place, it should not come to suing,” Ms Hampton said.
“A Bill of Rights would ensure that government |officials could take a course and be aware of what the human rights requirements are.”
Asked if she felt uncomfortable being in a coalition of 188 groups which included ex-prisoners’ organisations, Ms Hampton said: “Not in the slightest; our priority is the disabled and I believe this can serve their interests.”