Irish Wheelchair Association pleads with Minister to provide sufficient services for those with disabilities

Minister Roderic O'Gorman. Picture: Leah Farrell/
By Joel Slattery

Grant-aided organisations which provide disability, mental health and community services are facing a €20m shortfall in funding due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The warning comes as the Irish Wheelchair Association launched an awareness campaign, appealing to the new government not to leave the sector behind as Ireland commences an economic recovery once the restrictions are lifted.

The charity is petitioning the government to include disability provision in its upcoming plans for housing and health.

They are appealing to the new Minister for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration Roderic O'Gorman to ensure that people with disabilities can live the life they choose, with independence.

“As Covid-19 restrictions ease, many people are looking forward to getting ‘back to normal’, visiting friends, getting haircuts, going to pubs and gyms. But not everyone will be enjoying their full freedom," outlined Joan Carthy, Irish Wheelchair Association’s advocacy officer.

“Lockdown restrictions give just a small flavour of what life is like every day for people with disabilities. 

"Lack of wheelchair accessible transport, lack of home support hours, discrimination in the job market and inaccessible buildings and public amenities, are just some of the challenges that restrict people with disabilities from living an independent life."

The campaign, #NotMyIndependennceDay, launched to coincide with July 4, is a message for the incoming government, Ms Carthy added.

“Irish Wheelchair Association has launched its #NotMyIndependenceDay campaign to petition Roderic O’Gorman, new Minister for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration and the new Government to commit to ensuring that policy decisions in housing, health, social welfare, education, environment – across every department – take disability into account in a meaningful way.

“Before Covid, Section 39 organisations in the disability sector were facing a €20 million deficit. This has been made much worse by the pandemic and creates great uncertainty for those who rely on our services to live independently.

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