Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) Responds to Budget 2018 Announcement
Rosemary Keogh, CEO of Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) commented:
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. Yet again the Government’s Budget has not delivered for people with physical disabilities. Unfortunately, no real commitment or investment into vital services such as Personal Assistant Services, Housing or Transport was announced in Minister Paschal Donoghue’s Financial Statement.
An extra 500,000 Personal Assistant Hours are urgently required so that people with disabilities are not living isolated in their own homes or left in emergency situations. IWA will be seeking urgent clarification as to how much of the additional budget allocated to the Department of Health will be earmarked for Disability Services and specifically Personal Assistant Services.
As part of IWA’s Pre-Budget Submission, we called for investment in three key areas: Personal Assistant Services, Housing and Accessible Transport Services, all of which are the linchpins necessary for people with disabilities to live independently. IWA are very disappointed that no specific budget allocation was announced to enhance accessible transport infrastructure.
A total of €1.83 billion has been allocated to housing in Budget 2018, with 3,800 social houses to be built by local authorities and approved housing bodies. IWA will be seeking clarification as to how many of the new social housing units will be suitable for people with physical disabilities.
The partnership between IWA as a not-for-profit organisation and the State, particularly in relation to the provision of services, has served the nation well. However, Ireland still has not ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and is the only country in Europe not to ratify this vital international agreement, which would afford people with disabilities the same basic human rights as everyone else.
IWA’s focus is on people – ordinary people who want to live their lives alongside their friends, families and communities. Not separate. Not isolated. Not excluded. The ratification of the UNCRPD will ensure that the human rights of people with disabilities are honoured and protected and will breakdown existing barriers and unlock immense potential.