Local authorities need to reimagine how access to services and decision making can be improved for people with disabilities.
That is according to Pauline O’Reilly, Green Party candidate for Galway City West.
The call comes in response to the Disability Federation of Ireland’s recent campaign to highlight how difficult participation in community life can be for some of its members.
Ms O’Reilly said; “We know that in Galway city there are 9,379 working age people with a disability – more than 14 per cent more than of the population. Yet only only 26 per cent of these people with a disability are in employment.”
She urged all local authorities, businesses, and residents to support the DFIs campaign, outlining the serious challenges faced by the 13.5 per cent of people in Ireland who are living with disabilities every day.
“Everyone has a right, and a basic need, to take part in their community, and all the amenities and services that are available locally. This can include access to decent housing, safe streets, pathways to education and employment, use of public transport and, of course, access to health services that are both nearby and timely,” she said.
“To safeguard this principle of inclusion I have written to the local council to ask them to draft their own implementation plan for the United Nations Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities.
“As the Green Party has done on the issue of climate action, I believe that where national government has failed to act to protect the basic rights of those we represent, local government can play an important role. At local level we can choose to prioritise those in our society who need our support and solidarity the most. All our public buildings should be accessible, there should be no website or public service that is unavailable due to a lack of forethought on the different abilities of our friends and neighbours.
“If elected this May, I will be making the implementation of such a plan a key goal and ensuring that the opinions and input of persons with disabilities is at the heart of the local decision making process.”