Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Disability Deputy Margaret Murphy O’ Mahony has said the ‘Make Work Pay’ report published yesterday by the Department of Social Protection underscores that more needs to be done to assist people with disabilities into employment.

Commenting Deputy Murphy O’Mahony said: ‘I welcome the publication of this report, but it is imperative that the recommendations contained within the report are acted upon.

“All too often, reports are published and are put on the shelf and end up gathering dust. This cannot be allowed to happen with this report.

“It is evident that many people with disabilities are keen to take up employment but we must create a labour market and a social welfare system that is responsive and flexible to the needs of people with a disability.

“We need to remember that a disability does not mean an inability in most cases. There are many different roles that could be undertaken by persons with disabilities, but employers need to be flexible and open to changing their work place practices.

“The Government needs to do more than pay lip service to people with disabilities. Ireland is now the only EU member state that has not ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with a Disability (UNCRPD), a full 10 years since it was signed.

“Six years of Fine Gael government is a full six years of under-support for people with disabilities. Their failure to ensure the ratification of the UN Convention, which is explicitly mentioned in their own Programme for Government, is a further example of the low priority they attach to disability issues.

“Fine Gael has been at pains to point out that there is an economic recovery underway.  While GDP may be rising, the situation for people with disabilities is less than satisfactory.
“According to the latest SILC report, the situation for those not at work due to an illness or disability actually worsened between 2014 and 2015 actually worsened.  For example, the Consistent Poverty Rate rose from 14.4% in 2014 to 22.4% in 2015 for this sector of society.

“I accept the need for research and reports, but there comes a point where you need to put your money where your mouth is. Action is now needed, and the Government must put in place detailed action plans to ensure people with disabilities are given the opportunities, supports and resources to participate fully in Irish society.