THE next Government’s policy in relation to disability issues must prioritise supports for independent living for people with disabilities in County Clare.
That’s according to the Centre for Independent Living (CIL), which launched a political awareness campaign in advance of the forthcoming general election in Dublin last week.
The Clare delegation of Martina Halpin, Dermot Hayes and Margaret Kinnane impressed on Deputy Timmy Dooley, who attended the launch along with fellow Oireachtas members, that the incoming Government must ensure the recession does not relegate disability issues to the bottom of the policy agenda.
CIL also emphasised that greater support for independent living would ultimately enable more people with disabilities to participate in the workforce and would therefore provide some cost benefits to the Exchequer.
CIL was established in 1992 and strives to empower and enable people with disabilities to achieve independent living.
Speaking at the launch of its pre-election campaign, Michael McCabe, spokesperson for CIL, said, “We certainly recognise the very difficult financial situation facing this country and realise that the next Government will have to make more hard choices.
“However, we want to remind politicians that people with disabilities in Clare and throughout Ireland – more than any other sector of society – are heavily reliant on the State for supports and services. Any further cuts to incomes and services would have a hugely detrimental impact on the lives of people with disabilities and their families.
“Over the lifetime of the next Government, it is critical that disability payments are examined to ensure they meet the high cost of living that people with disabilities face. Increasingly, due to recent budget reductions, people with disabilities are experiencing serious financial hardship. As a very first step, we are looking for a copper-fastened guarantee from political parties and independent candidates that disability payments are not subjected to any further cuts,” he said.