Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Disability Margaret Murphy O’Mahony TD has marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities by saying that a lot more needs to be done to ensure full inclusion for people with disabilities.

“This is the twenty-eighth year in a row that the world has observed the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD). There has been a lot of progress in that time especially in Ireland but more needs to be done”, said Deputy Murphy O’Mahony.

“The theme focuses on the empowerment of persons with disabilities for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as envisaged in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which pledges to ‘leave no one behind’.

“Unfortunately, too many are being left behind in Ireland still. The Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) published last week showed that households with people not at work due to illness or disability are particularly vulnerable to poverty and social exclusion. The SILC data revealed that the at-risk of poverty rate for this household type actually rose between 2017 and 2018, with a rate of 47.7% compared to 35.4% the year before.

“We also see the government failing to replace the mobility allowance. Almost seven years have passed since it was closed to new entrants and still we await a substitute initiative.

“Similarly progress in expanding personal assistance has been way too slow with the number of hours to people with disabilities provided falling substantially short of what is needed.

“A further area of recurring deficiencies is of course in children’s services. The number of overdue assessments of need under the 2005 Disability Act has jumped 15% this year. We have thousands of children waiting far too long for essential therapy services and assessments.

“A key goal for Fianna Fail at local and national level is ensuring people with a disability are empowered to take their place at the heart of the community. We want to see that no-one is left behind, and I hope we get that opportunity in 2020.”