Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Disability Colm Keaveney has called on the Government to increase the number of Personal Assistant hours for people with disabilities in next week’s Budget. Deputy Keaveney says the roll out of more hours is essential so that people with disabilities can be allowed to live independently rather than being confined to residential care.
“The importance of Personal Assistants in the lives of people with disabilities cannot be overestimated. In fact, the issue was thrown into the spotlight this week when a conference on disability, scheduled for Wednesday, was cancelled at the last minute. One of the main reasons the seminar had to be re-arranged was because many of the people who were due to attend it had difficulty arranging for their Personal Assistants to be available to them on the day. Ironically the issue of independent living was due to be one of the important issues for discussion at the conference.
“It is almost impossible for people to realise how difficult life can be for people with disabilities. Personal Assistants provide a critical support, enabling them to have a fulfilling life and career. Yet, many only receive four hours of assistance a week and have to squeeze any activity outside the home – shopping, medical appointments, and socialising – into those four hours.
“People with disabilities must not be left behind as the public finances recover. Fianna Fáil as a republican party believes that all citizens are deserving of an opportunity to participate fully in their communities and to pursue their ambitions. Personal Assistant hours are enormously important in this regard. They are a crucial way to allow people with a disability to enjoy equal and independent lives and the upcoming Budget provides the Government with an opportunity to follow through on some of the commitments it made to the disability sector when it took office.”