Warning Over Impact of Cuts On Those With Disabilities
People with disabilities have become prisoners in their own home due to cuts in welfare payments and support services, it was claimed today.
Ten leading organisations have demanded that the Government should recognise the social and care needs of people with a disability or mental health problem in December’s austerity Budget.
“We are new back to the situation where they are actually making our home an institution because of the cuts”
The umbrella groups - which represent 800,000 people with disabilities - argued there is no Croke Park Agreement to protect service users across the country.
John Dolan, of the Disability Federation of Ireland, said 18.5 per cent of the population have a disability -with the percentage increasing as people age.
“Disability is not a sectoral issue, it is a social issue,” he said.
“The Taoiseach (Enda Kenny), the Tanaiste (Eamon Gilmore) and the Programme for Government have named people with disabilities, including mental health, as the Government’s social justice priority.
“There is no plan how to protect people (with a disability) from the cradle to the grave,” he added.
The groups, a range of disability and mental health support organisations, called on the Government to halt reductions in the income supports for people with disabilities who are dependent on benefits.
The Government was also urged to maintainf unding for services needed by people with disabilities.
The groups maintain Government still has its social sovereignty and should put the same energy into maintaining disability services as to job creation.
Cystic Fibrosis sufferer Tom King, of the Centre for Independent Living (CIL), said personal assistant hours have been slashed nationwide - meaning disabled people have little chance of leaving the home socially.
“We are new back to the situation where they are actually making our home an institution because of the cuts,” said the 58-year-old, who takes 22 tablets and four injections a day.
“They have made the service homecare, but they will not give us social care.”
Meanwhile Des Kenny, from the Not for Profit Business Association, said the personal assistant scheme had given individuals the chance to move from bed to society.
“To take that away is a new form of imprisonment of people with a disability,” he said.
“Once it just gets people out of their bed, dresses them and once they are not smelly the State doesn’t care. They can sit in their own homes all day.”
(source: Irish Times)