Government must stand by its Committment to Disability

December 6 2011


Protect the Vulnerable

After extensive and ongoing Social Partnership discussions our Government must make the difficult decisions on Tuesday next. It is imperative that in decisions taken, that the Government continue to stand by its commitment to the National Disability Strategy as part of the recent commitment ‘to protect the vulnerable’.

John Dolan, Chief Executive of DFI said to-day,

“People with disabilities, their families and carers are frightened and anxious at present as they witness the day by day loss of jobs and services. They are wondering if their services will be seriously affected in this present economic downturn and they need immediate and transparent reassurance. At DFI we are in receipt of a large number of calls relating to people who are already struggling because on their disability and now fear further isolation and loss of much needed assistance. Many of these people have vivid memories of the last recession in the 1980s when services were decimated”

In fairness, the Government has worked hard over recent years to play catch up in the disability area and made this a stated priority in the recent Programme for Government. That work and progress must not be destroyed by cuts to necessary and vital services and ‘we are stressing this vital point at the current talks’, John Dolan said

The dominant message emerging at this time is that we must all share the pain in order to get our economy back on track. We sincerely hope that the Government does not expect people, who are already struggling to get on with life and must rise to daily challenges, to make further sacrifices because others took their eye off the ball. Let’s hope not.

John Dolan went on to say,

“Disabled people and other vulnerable groups are at the end of the line, they have nowhere to turn and no one else to lay off their burden to other than already hard pressed family members and carers. Much progress has been made with legislation, funding and services to assist people with disability. They deserve better than cutbacks at this time; cutbacks from which it could take decades to recover”