August 2014 Newsletter
Issued on August 15 2014
Over the past number of years, it has become ever clearer just how badly the outcomes of previous Budgets have left people with disabilities behind. The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) is using its Pre-Budget Submission to make the case for an inclusive society that leaves nobody behind.
Budget 2015 must break the chain of previous austerity budgets and address the growing levels of hardship in which these people unjustly find themselves. The growing confidence in economic recovery must also translate into confidence in knowing that people have a strong fabric of health and social supports behind them: the downturn can no longer be used as a reason for depriving disabled people their basic rights as citizens.
This budget must adopt a three-fold approach of delivering adequate income supports, inclusive labour markets and quality services, restoring a strong health and social services infrastructure which protects people with disabilities and their families. Supplementary income supports must be acknowledged as part of a person’s basic income and safeguarded as such, while access to robust services and mainstream activation programmes which support disabled people to live with independence and well-being is also essential.
Those involved in Government have to regularly confront decisions on the spending of public money, and, in that, they must understand that what they determine reveals exactly where their priorities, values and motivations lie. Clearly, and in the face of commitments previously made, they don’t lie with disability. Government now faces an opportunity to demonstrate its ambition and responsibilities to people with disabilities in changing that.
We are not just fighting for people with disabilities and their families; we are fighting for this country to have a heart and soul. Ireland’s future rests on whether we’re going to be an open, inclusive and participatory society. The decisions taken in the upcoming Budget must not lead us to question whether that future includes people with disabilities.
John Dolan, Chief Executive Officer