Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) expresses relief as Union officials have agreed to defer today's proposed industrial action pending the outcome of a members' ballot.

Union officials have agreed to bring an offer of an 8% pay increase for IWA employees and the wider Section 39 employees alongside a commitment to continue meaningful talks for re-linking the pay rates with that of their HSE counterparts to their members.

However, Irish Wheelchair Association slams the government for allowing widespread disruption, fear, and angst to spread across their community stating that it could have been completely avoided. It is heartbreaking to witness the unnecessary challenges faced by their service users and employees as a result of this ordeal.

Speaking from the Irish Wheelchair Association Community Centre in Clontarf, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Chris Hoey, expressed his relief and gratitude: “There is immense relief amongst our community today, and we are grateful for the increased offer put forward by the Unions to our employees. It is crucial that the re-linking of pay salaries is established to ensure security in the sector and prevent workers from seeking higher pay rates elsewhere. It is truly regrettable that our people, including service users and employees, were pushed to the brink before these talks even began. The stress imposed on families across the country cannot be reversed. This treatment by the Government continues to demonstrate the undervaluation of people with disabilities. We will tirelessly work to reverse the impact of the proposed strike action, although some effects cannot be instantaneously reversed. This is not good enough. We would like to express sincere thanks to our employees and service users for their unwavering support and to those who bravely shared their stories with the public.”

Irish Wheelchair Association firmly believes that pay parity is just one of the crucial matters that the government must address within the disability sector. For years, IWA have been calling for adequate funding in the sector, which has been plagued by chronic underfunding issues. Thousands of people with disabilities went to bed last night not knowing if they could get up this morning. It is disheartening to observe this situation, especially when the government is running an advertising campaign on Disability Rights. Their actions seem disingenuous at this point.

Irish Wheelchair Association would like to extend their heartfelt appreciation to their community for their unwavering support during these difficult few days. They understand the stress and anxiety this has caused and will work tirelessly today to reach out to all service users and employees today to minimise any further distress.