Disable Inequality, a major election campaign for the disability movement, was launched recently. The campaign is calling on the next government to establish a cabinet minister for disability inclusion. It is also calling for an end to the anomaly that means that people with disabilities cannot access many Government job activation schemes and the reinstatement of the €150m which has been taken out of disability health services since 2008. This is a grassroots movement election campaign that will engage the public and candidates across all 43 constituencies.
There are 600,000 people living with a disability in Ireland — that is 13 per cent of the population — a number that is growing as Ireland’s population ages. Two in three people know or care for an immediate family member, a friend, or a neighbour living with a disability. There are 17,710 people with a disability living in Mayo.
Despite this, according to Mayo Centre for Independent Living, disability has never received the political leadership, attention, and commitment that it needs to make Ireland an equal country. “This campaign is the first election campaign that gives people with disabilities and their families one focus and one voice,” stated a spokesperson for the Mayo Centre for Independent Living (CIL ).
“Disable Inequality is simple," Mayo CIL says. “With just two words it tells us that it is not the disability that we live with that is disabling. It is the inequality that we live with that is disabling.”
Mayo CIL continued: “Ireland is a deeply unequal country for people with disabilities, it is a country where discrimination, segregation, and bias is a daily experience for people with disabilities. We’ve had lots of policies, we’ve had strategies, we’ve had promises. But we have never had a serious political commitment to ending the unfairness that is a systemic part of life for thousands of people and their families. In this year of election and reflection we must disable inequality forever. The power of this campaign is in people’s stories , so we have mobilised our grassroots to tell their stories, to highlight the inequalities faced, one story at a time.
"People with disabilities cannot access many Government job activation schemes because they are not considered to be on the Live Register. People with disabilities have to give 24 hours notice if they want to travel by train. Children with disabilities often can’t attend their local schools because of the lack of basic supports. Does that seem fair to you?”
Mayo CIL concluded: “We are asking the people of Mayo to do a few things. First, to go to www.disableinequality.ie and share their story of inequality, and encourage their friends and family to do the same. We want them to contact their local candidates from our website. And we want them to ask the candidates that knock on their door three powerful questions – What they will do to ensure: the appointment of a full minister for disability, that people with disabilities will have a fair income; and that people with disabilities have the same access to supports and services as everyone else? Disability needs to be a priority in the next programme for government. One vote at a time, we will disable inequality.”
For more information contact Mayo Centre for Independent Living at (094 ) 9034980 or email [email protected].