Thousands of Supporters Nationwide Sign Irish Wheelchair Association’s Petition Calling for Fairness & Equality in Budget 2018!

Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) on behalf of its members and supporters submitted a high priority petition, signed by over 8,000 people to Government Ministers and TD’s outside Leinster House earlier this week.

IWA called for the support of the general public to change the Government’s unfair treatment of people with disabilities and to ensure Budget 2018 is an inclusive budget for all, so that people with disabilities have a fair and equal opportunity to live their lives independently.

Signatures

Is it cos of my wheels

As part of its ‘Is it cos of my wheels?’ campaign, IWA – Ireland’s leading representative organisation and service providers for people with physical disabilities highlighted the many challenges and obstacles prohibiting people with disabilities from living full and independent lives. IWA has called on the Government to focus on three key areas: investment for an accessible public transport system; plans for appropriate and affordable housing; and additional funding for Personal Assistant Services.

Speaking from ousidet Leinster House, Rosemary Keogh said:

Budget 2018 is critical for people with physical disabilities and their families. It is our job in the Irish Wheelchair Association to hold our Government accountable for the commitments they have made to people with physical disabilities in the past. As part of IWA’s ‘Is it cos of my wheels?’ campaign we invited our neighbours, colleagues, members and supporters to sign our online petition to compel the Government to take disability issues seriously and to ensure the challenges facing people with disabilities are finally addressed and resolved in 2018

Ms Keogh continued:

Thousands of people nationwide rely on Personal Assistant Services to ensure they do not remain isolated in their homes or left in inappropriate settings such as nursing homes or acute hospitals. The Irish Government has not invested in this vital service since 2009 and as a result over 500,000 hours are now required by individuals and families nationwide. Earlier this week, IWA made a final request for fairness and equality from our Ministers and we want to see real investment for essential supports and services in Budget 2018”.

Joining IWA outside Leinster House, Padraic Moran a wheelchair user from Bray, Co. Wicklow described the inequality he faces as he struggles to access public transport:

I rely on public transport to commute from Bray into Dublin City Centre every day. Each morning I must contact my local DART station to ensure that the lifts in the station will be working, that the station will be manned by staff to assist with ramp access and that I will be able to disembark safely at the other end of the journey also. Is it because of my wheelchair I have to complete this process? Yes, is the answer and far too often I am met by obstacles, problems and challenges which prohibit me from commuting to work. This should not be the case in 2017, it is time for change.

 

One of the single biggest issues facing people with physical disabilities is finding suitable and affordable housing. IWA’s Advocacy Officer, Joan Carthy joined people with disabilities outside Leinster House and reiterated IWA’s concerns:

People with disabilities have always faced challenges in living independently and one of the greatest barriers to independent living is finding suitable accommodation. As the housing and homeless crisis continues, it is having a greater impact than ever on people with disabilities. Housing stock has been depleted, fewer accessible houses are being built, and supply is a very serious issue. All of the combined factors have placed further restrictions on individuals with disabilities who wish to live independently in a home of their own”.