“Seismic change” in relation to Ireland’s approach to people with disabilities is needed according to a number of representative bodies, West Cork TD Holly Cairns has said.
Speaking on International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns said it is important for the State to recognise the challenges, achievements and realities of being a person with a disability in Ireland.
The West Cork Social Democrat said: “Some of the key issues affecting people with disabilities in West Cork can be addressed with a rights-based approach, including the chronic lack of supported housing, families having to travel to the city for pediatric therapies, and a shortage of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) units.”
Ms Cairns, who is the Social Democrats spokesperson for Disability Issues, said: “This year, the World Health Organisation celebrates the Day of Persons with Disabilities as ‘a day for all’.
“The bureaucratic and physical structures of the State can create barriers. This needs to change, not in a piecemeal manner, but across all Government departments and society through genuine engagement with people with disabilities.
“The Oireachtas Committee on Disability Matters, of which I am a member, is focused on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. A rights-based approach is foundational to help people with disabilities to achieve their rightful place in society.
“At committee today, we had representatives from Special Olympics Ireland, the Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities and WALK, who all emphasised the need for a seismic change in Ireland.” Ms Cairns said that successive governments that have failed to ratify the optional protocol of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, have failed people.
“This newly established Disability Matters Committee must urgently bring the protocol forward. I will be working with other members of the committee to make that happen. There can be no more excuses.”