Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Disability Margaret Murphy O’Mahony says disability must be a priority in Budget 2017.

Deputy Murphy O’Mahony said, “I’ve met a number of organisations working in the disability sector since being appointed to this role. All of these groups have expressed their frustration at the slow pace of change in this area. They also pointed out that there is a need for real political leadership to drive forward positive and inclusive reform of the disability sector in Ireland.

“People with disabilities need to be prioritised in Budget 2017. The Government must demonstrate its commitment to improving the lives of people who are living with a disability. An emphasis should be placed on moving people from a congregated environment to a community setting. People with a disability must be afforded the opportunity of being able to integrate with their local communities.

“The lack of accessible public transport also needs to be tackled alongside insufficient resources for personal assistant hours. People with disabilities face significant additional costs on a weekly basis and we should be examining how we can implement wider reforms such as personalised budgets. This was a commitment made in the Programme for Government and it must be followed up on.

“Over the next number of months decisions are going to have to be made regarding the formation of the Budget. I will be making a strong case for people with disabilities and will be seeking for them to be prioritised. Anything less than this will be simply unacceptable for people with disabilities and their families who care for them.”