Our disabling society is a real issue

Posted on: 10th September, 2015

Category: Features

Contributor: West Cork People

There are 68,400 people living in Cork today with a disability or chronic illness.  This represents 13 per cent of the entire population of our county. Nationally, one in every eight people in Ireland have a disability.  Disability is a community issue – it affects people of all ages and their families directly and indirectly. And when one considers that each and every person who is living with a disability is also a family member – a son, daughter, sibling, mother or father – it is clear that concerns relating to the lack of supports and services for people with disabilities encompasses a far larger percentage of Cork’s population. Alison Ryan, the Disability Federation of Ireland Support Officer for Co. Cork, gives us some insight into the concerns facing anyone with a disability.

A mistake that is often made is to define disability as an issue for ‘a sector’.  The reality is that disability should concern every one of us.  It is a key community issue that will affect nearly everyone at some stage in their life, especially as disability increases sharply with age. If the serious gaps that currently exist in service provision for people with disabilities in Cork are properly addressed, this will support our entire community and everybody will benefit.

The recession hit Ireland hard and it seriously impacted on people with disabilities. Since 2008, there has been a steady erosion of services and supports for people with disabilities. As a result, people with disabilities are more likely to live in poverty than others.

The most recent Survey on Income and Living Conditions in Ireland found that over 53 per cent of people who were not at work due to disability or illness experienced enforced deprivation. For everyone who cares about living in a fair society such facts are a cause for grave concern.

As Ireland now enters into a critical stage in our economic recovery, it is vital that people with disabilities and their families are not left behind. The recovery needs to be fair and it needs to deliberately give a lift to those who have been left behind by the downturn.

The Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, recently confirmed that he has almost €1.5 billion available for tax cuts and spending increases in the forthcoming Budget.  Now that there is funding available, it has to be invested in those who need it most. There is a pressing need to ensure that community supports and an accessible health infrastructure are prioritised in order to allow people with disabilities to live independently alongside their family and neighbours.

It is a sad reality of our modern republic that people with disabilities are every day facing serious barriers to their full inclusion and participation in our society. This is unfair, this is unjust and this has to be fully addressed to make our nation more equal. Budget 2016 provides the Government with a real opportunity in this regard.

Services for people with disabilities have been historically underfunded in Ireland, making the cuts implemented during the recession all the more devastating. Access to services, such as physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, personal assistants and other key supports are now totally insufficient.  Furthermore, people with disabilities are not entitled to participate in many employment and activation programmes and are, therefore, further excluded from the labour market.

In its budgetary submission, the Disability Federation of Ireland has identified a number of core actions, which it is calling on Government to now achieve, including: Increasing disability payments by €20 per week, as an interim measure, to offset the cost of disability; Restoring the respite care grant to pre-austerity levels by increasing it by €325 per annum; Increasing the Housing Adaptation Grant by €30 million to support people with disabilities currently living in communities; Cutting waiting lists for specialist and mainstream health services by 50 per cent by 2017; Increasing the disability health budget by €50 million each year for the next three years.

As this Dáil fast approaches its final budget before a General Election, it is important that all shades of political opinion reflect on the following question: ‘What will be the Disability legacy of this Government?’

People with disabilities and their families have been given lots of promises in the past. But what is now needed is concrete action.  We need to hear and see fully funded plans from Government in this Budget. The outcomes of these plans need to be experienced by the people across the length and breadth of Co. Cork.

There can be no recovery without us. The provision of the necessary supports and services which enable people with disabilities to live as equal citizens in their own communities must be a budgetary priority.

Latest News Articles:

Christmas on the beat
Clonakilty town aims to get snowed under with the return of the Clonakilty Christmas Express
On call for Christmas
Have your say in shaping the future of Clonakilty
Dursey Island project passes first phase in Failte Ireland’s Grant Scheme
Minister Ring visits superb rural initiatives in West Cork
West Cork farms celebrated at Milk Awards
Issue of childcare a major concern for 72 per cent of female entrepreneurs
Rain, slurry deadlines and housing
Celtic Ross Hotel awarded AA Rosette for Culinary Excellence

Join us on Facebook

Something to remember especially at this time of year. ... See MoreSee Less

This Christmas Tree candle is currently available in Penny’s/Primark stores, they have been recalled by the company. If you have one please beware they do pose a serious fire hazard if lit and left unattended. Please keep them as an ornament and do not light them and leave them unattended. In fact you should never leave any lit candle unattended as a naked flame and wax can be very unpredictable. Please share to get this message around to your friends and families.

11th December, 2017  ·  

West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork shared Garda Síochána - Cork, Kerry & Limerick - Southern Region's photo. ... See MoreSee Less

REMINDER: An Garda Siochana are hosting a Retail Crime Prevention Meeting, to be held at 7pm on Wednesday 29th November 2017. This meeting will be held in the Munster Arms Hotel in Bandon. This meeting is one of a series being held across the West Cork Garda Division, in association with Operation Thor, the Garda National Anti-Crime Strategy. The purpose of the meeting is to increase the cooperation between Gardai and the retail sector, ensuring that the current low levels of crime in the locality extends past the busy approaching Christmas season. The meeting will be addressed by the local Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Ian O’ Callaghan, who will discuss burglary prevention, shoplifting, fraud, and cybercrime. There will be a particular focus on cash handling and cash exposure of businesses in the run up to the Christmas shopping period. All aspects of commercial crime will be discussed, and we would strongly urge all businesses to make a special effort to attend on the evening.

28th November, 2017  ·  

TRADING THROUGH BREXIT - BREXIT BRIEFING SERIES LAUNCHED
Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade Simon Coveney T.D. is hosting a number of Brexit Breakfast Briefings in Cork in the coming weeks. The first in the series takes place on Monday, 4 December at the Carrigaline Court Hotel at 7:30am until 9am. Business owners, retailers and those involved in tourism in the region are invited to attend the free briefing, which will see Minister Coveney providing an update on Brexit negotiations, his insights and also practical ways to begin preparing for Brexit.

The Brexit Breakfast information events are free of charge and all are welcome to attend, however registration is required by emailing simon.coveney@oir.ie or call 021 4374200
... See MoreSee Less

27th November, 2017  ·  

Keep an eye out for Croíúil Trad group
from Rosscarbery and the Munster Champions U-12 Ceili Band from Bandon, both performing on next weekend's The Late Late Toy Show, airing on Friday, December 1 on RTÉ One at 9.35pm.
... See MoreSee Less

27th November, 2017  ·  

Meet Santa and his elves, penguins and polar bears at Leapland, which returns to Leap Village on December 2. A magical experience for little ones who can visit from Mon-Fri 5pm-8pm and Sat-Sun 12pm-8pm. Call 087 7427016 for enquiries. ... See MoreSee Less

21st November, 2017  ·  

Jump to:

Top