Belfast Telegraph

Protesters demand disability rights

People with disabilities are being ignored and isolated, and bear an unfair brunt of economic cutbacks, campaigners have claimed.

About 2,000 protesters marched to the gates of the Dail to show Government a red card ahead of Budget 2013.

The members of the Disability Rights Coalition said they are demanding their rights, not charity, and called on politicians to stick with promises in the programme for government, including maintaining social welfare rates, a new law to replace the 1871 Lunacy Act.

Spokeswoman Siobhan Kane said: "Everybody talks about the big announcements on budget day, but for people with disabilities it is a gradual drip feed.

"Day by day and week by week, they are told a support or service is being taken away. James Reilly (health minister) doesn't stand up in the Dail and say people have to organise their own transport or start paying for respite.

"People feel they have no control over any of it and it's causing huge stress and worries for disabled people and their families."

There are 600,000 people with disabilities across Ireland - 13% of the population - but Ms Kane warned many are ignored, isolated and bear an unfair brunt of cuts. The disability sector has already suffered budget cuts of 13.7% since 2008.

One woman left caring for her three elder brothers with intellectual disabilities has made a desperate plea for the men to be given residential care.

Aideen Pollard, 46, moved in with brothers Jack, 64, Michael, 63, and Barra, 53, in north Dublin when their elderly mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and went into a nursing home almost three years ago.

The men, believed to have special needs due to the Fragile X syndrome, attend a day service with St Michael's House (SMH) in Glasnevin, but their sister is fighting for long-term respite care.


From Belfast Telegraph