Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Mental Health, Disability and Special Needs Colm Keaveney TD has expressed concern about the latest statistics from the Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) and the rise in the at-risk and consistent poverty rates for those not at work due to illness or disability.
Deputy Keaveney commented, “The figures are disappointing but not surprising given the policies pursued by Fine Gael and Labour and the successive wave of regressive budgets that they have introduced which specifically targeted those with disabilities.
“Consistent poverty has increased from 11% in 2013 to 13% in 2014, while the at-risk of poverty rate increased from 18% to 23% in the same period. This is appalling and demonstrates that living standards for the ill and people with disabilities has fallen under the present Government.
“I think it is important to remember that behind these statistics there are real people who are experiencing poverty, unable to afford essentials and are struggling on a daily basis to make ends meet. While the Government has talked at length about economic recovery it is clear that people with disabilities are not feeling the effects of the recovery, and in fact their situation has worsened.
“On many levels a two tier recovery is taking place which is leaving large sections of society behind. We have to question the type of society we will have if the agenda that has been pursued by Fine Gael and Labour continues. People with disabilities have been neglected, and in many instances penalised by punitive cuts to their income and services over the last 5 years.
“Fine Gael and Labour made specific commitments at the last election to make disability a social justice priority. However in Government they have done the very opposite by pursuing policies that have resulted in the dismantling of much of the infrastructure that people with disabilities require to live full and independent lives. These statistics are further evidence of the current Government’s lack of commitment to and disregard for people with disabilities,” said Deputy Keaveney.