The Government needs to take urgent action to address new figures which reveal at least 116 people with disabilities are on social housing waiting lists in Westmeath, according to one of the country’s largest charities, Rehab.
Access to appropriate social housing remains a major stumbling block for people with disabilities, impacting the 600,000 people with disabilities living in our communities.
A further 3,000 people with disabilities are still living in institutions. This does not include the 1,200 people younger than 65, most of whom have disabilities, placed in nursing homes. These people, housed in what Rehab says are “inappropriate settings”, are being deprived of the basic human right to live in the community and play an active role in society, according to the charity.
Rehab has called on the Government to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD ). Ireland is the only country in Europe which has still failed to ratify this vital international agreement. Article 19 of the UNCRPD specifically provides for people with disabilities to live independently in their communities.
Kathleen O’Meara, Rehab’s director of communications and public affairs, said: “Ireland really needs to get to grips with how we support people with disabilities to live in their own homes. These figures show the Government is failing our most vulnerable members of society. The right to a home is a critical human right outlined in the UNCRPD.
“If the convention was ratified, the Government would have to be accountable. These worrying figures show that people with disabilities continue to be treated like second-class citizens. The reality is that people with disabilities remain invisible when it comes to policy and service provision.
“Every day in Rehab services we see people living full and active lives. We support nearly 200 adults to live independently in their communities through our supported accommodation services. It’s past time the Government prioritise people with disabilities.”