Not My Independence Day
As people regain their independence with the easing of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, not everyone will be enjoying their full freedom.
Imagine never escaping the lockdown.
For people with physical disabilities, life can be a struggle with challenges, obstacles and restrictions that damage their independence every single day, not just during COVID-19.
What are you looking forward to most when restrictions are lifted?
- Going for a pint or a meal in a restaurant?
Many restaurants and pubs are not accessible and few have wheelchair-accessible toilets that wheelchair users can use without worry or help from others.
- Getting to see friends and family?
Buses and trains without ramps, stations with broken lifts or no staff to help. Simple issues that make a trip or socialising with friends or family a complete nightmare for people with disabilities.
- Going on a trip abroad?
People with restricted personal assistant/home-help hours are barely able to get outside their homes to the shop, never mind going on holiday abroad.
- Getting back to work?
The majority of people with physical disabilities are not able to access the workplace equally due to transport, infrastructure and personal assistant/home-help restrictions preventing them from getting jobs.
Irish Wheelchair Association is highlighting that COVID-19 restrictions such as limits on travel distance, lack of access to pubs, restaurants and cinemas are only a small flavour of what it’s like every day for a person with a disability.
One in seven people in Ireland has a disability. The new Irish Government must provide resources to ensure all its citizens, particularly those with disabilities, can enjoy the independence they are entitled to – whether that is, housing, enough home help hours, accessible transport, sport and recreation facilities and accessible workplaces.
What should the new Government do?
- Roderic O’Gorman, Minister for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration and the new Government must commit to ensuring that policy decisions in housing, health, social welfare, education, environment – across every department – take disability into account, in a meaningful way.
- After years of underfunding by successive governments, the new Government must ensure that disability organisations are properly funded for the vital services they carry out on behalf of the State. No half measures, no crumbs from the table. We want real investment providing people with disabilities the right to live independently.