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MLAs must protect rights of disabled

Published 09/06/2016

There has been little discussion on how disabled people, their carers and organisations could be affected by Brexit.

A number of academics have penned their views stating that "the lives of UK disabled people and their families have been improved through our membership of the EU" and "leaving the EU would put legislative advancements made over 15 years at risk".

Brexit would jeopardise financial support to already-struggling disability organisations - support which addresses anti-poverty, employment, social inclusion and community-based living for disabled people, which cut to the heart of disabled people's lives in areas that others take for granted.

So, what has the European Union done for disabled people? The Employment Equality Directive (2000) prohibits discrimination in employment to strengthen UK law.

A change in the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) meant employers with fewer than 20 employees had to comply with the Employment Equality Directive (2004). The EU also strengthened transport regulations.

The above are only some of the advancements made, but not all have been adopted in Northern Ireland.

The Executive should bring Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the UK - and, in the event of a Brexit, make assurances over protection of those rights in the future, whether in the EU or not.

SARA BUNTING

Newtownards, Co Down

Belfast Telegraph

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