Local Election Manifesto 2014

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Including People with Disabilities in Local Government Decision Making

Disability Federation of Ireland

DISABILITY IN IRELAND: SOME FACTS AND FIGURES

  • In Census 2011, 13% of the population, 595,335 people, reported they had a disability[1].
     
  • Disabled people experience high levels of consistent poverty (13% compared to 2% of those at work)[2]. This means that they have a low income and have difficulty with basic provisions, such as a meal with meat or fish every second day or the ability to have adequate heating.
     
  • Additional costs of disability have been estimated to be a third of average weekly income[3].

 

Local government reform and the shift from central to local decision-making gives all local government representatives the opportunity to become drivers of change that will ensure the inclusion of people with disabilities in the community.

People with disabilities count and represent over 595,000 Irish citizens, not including family, friends and neighbours. The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) want you to include our Top Three Priorities in your Local Election Manifesto 2014.

  1. Enable people with disabilities to access mainstream public services and supports.
  2. Promote and facilitate the participation of people with disabilities in local decision-making structures.
  3. Local government to be guided by the National Disability Strategy Implementation Plan and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

 

  1. Enable people with disabilities to access mainstream public services and supports.

A commitment towards mainstreaming services and supports requires the following actions from local government:

  • Local government, people with disabilities and other stakeholders working together to incorporate disability inclusion.
  • Facilitation of integrated working across the community and voluntary sector, the Health Service Executive (HSE) and other statutory bodies to ensure that people with disabilities have a seamless experience of services at local level.
  • ‘Disability-proofing’ all local government planning so that disability is considered in all mainstream decision-making and planning processes.
    • For example, considering the needs of people with disabilities in relation to waste and recycling services, street lighting, recreational facilities, walkways and pavement repairs, the local commissioning and procurement of services and facilities, and local government five-year plans.

As a local government representative, you can ensure that Ireland’s policy of mainstreaming services for people with disabilities is practised in your own local community.  You can do this by listening to and working with people with disabilities, identifying local needs and tracking the impact of actions taken throughout your term in office.

The Cashel Gold Star Initiative[4] is a current model of good practice for supporting the inclusion of people with disabilities in their own communities. DFI recommends the roll-out of this model in other towns across the country.

 As an initial step, DFI recommends that local government representatives focus their attention on key issues such as health, education, training and employment, housing, transport, and sport and leisure.  Representatives should identify local needs using the issues below as a guide.

 

Health

  Fact!

  9 out of 10 people with bad or very bad health have a disability[5]

 

 

 

  • Ensure that local government and HSE health strategies and plans align and complement each other.
    • For example, appropriate and inclusive housing and public planning can contribute greatly to the health, well-being and participation of people with disabilities within their community.
  • Ensure that the appropriate community supports and health infrastructure are in place and are accessible to enable people with disabilities to live well in the community (e.g. Personal Assistance service, home help supports etc).

 

Education, Training and Employment

       Fact!

  • Among people with disabilities, 43% have not progressed beyond primary education. This compares with 19% of all adults[6].
  • Over one third of young adults (25 to 29 years) with a disability left school before completing second level, compared to one in six of young adults with no disability[7].
  • In 2011, only 112,502 people aged 15 and over with a disability (or 21%) were at work. This compares with 50% of the overall population aged 15 and over[8].
  • Households not at work due to illness/disability had the lowest average annual disposable income in 2010. This was €23,900 compared to €56,537 when the head of the household was at work[9]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Local authorities need to support the participation of people with disabilities in local training, education and activation programmes, and to proactively work with SOLAS and the Education and Training Boards.

Support awareness and information for people with disabilities regarding local education and employment programmes through the local and community development programme.

Housing

Fact!

  • 3,938 people with disabilities were in need of social housing in 2013[10].
  • A total of 1,581 persons, or 42%, of the total homeless population indicated that they had a disability[11].

 

 

 

 

 

Local authorities can support people with disabilities to live in places of their choosing as part of the community.

Local authorities can improve the information they have on the housing needs of people with disabilities living in the community, as well as those moving out of institutions, so that their needs can be matched with appropriate housing.

Local government development plans must include information on the ways that people with disabilities will be enabled to live in the community through, for example, local housing budgets and the adequate availability of housing adaptation grant schemes.
 

Transport

Fact!

  • Almost 25% of people with disabilities either do not use or have a difficulty using public transport for accessibility reasons[12].

 

 

 

 

Gather information on the transport needs of people with disabilities in each local authority area to inform the Five Year Local and Community Development Plan.

Ensure all public transport is accessible for people with disabilities, and that transport facilities and structures (e.g. LARITS[13]) are integrated in terms of the needs of people with disabilities.

 

Sport and leisure

  • Improve accessibility to leisure and recreation services and facilities for people with disabilities.

 

  1. Promote and facilitate the participation of people with disabilities in local decision-making structures.

The local government reform process, as outlined in ‘Putting People First 2012[14]’, identifies citizen engagement as one of the three objectives for reform. Local authorities can achieve this objective by:

  • Partnering with people with disabilities and voluntary disability organisations to plan and deliver services and facilities.
  • Promoting the representation of people with disabilities across decision-making fora at the local level, including as part of ‘Community Interests’ in the new Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs).
  • Ensuring that effective consultation, participation structures and mechanisms are in place to facilitate active community representation and engagement.
  • Supporting voluntary disability organisations to enhance the capacity of people with disabilities to participate.

 

  1. Local government to be guided by the National Disability Strategy Implementation Plan and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

 

The National Disability Strategy Implementation Plan (NDSIP) contains details of each department’s planned actions for people with disabilities up until the end of 2015[15].

 

 

 

 

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) is the most significant human rights instrument for people with disabilities. Ireland signed the Convention in 2007 and has committed to ratifying it as soon as possible[16].

 

 

 

 

 

 

Local government reform will mean greater decision-making powers and responsibilities for City and County Councils, including the development of inclusive and accessible communities.  To achieve this, local government must ensure that all plans are in line with the National Disability Strategy, and eventually with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

DFI is calling on local government representatives to become drivers of the NDSIP by taking responsibility for its local implementation and monitoring.  DFI is also asking all political parties to ensure that their manifestos make specific reference to the swift ratification and implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.  Local government representatives can demonstrate their commitment to a society that is fully inclusive of people with disabilities by complying with the Convention and fulfilling the obligations attached to the ratification of the UNCRPD.

Conclusion

DFI is seeking a commitment to our three priorities in each Local Election Manifesto to reflect a commitment towards the promotion and protection of the rights of disabled citizens in Ireland.  DFI is committed to supporting elected representatives to progress the disability inclusion agenda.

Figures based on the 2011 Census and taken from CSO (2012) Profile 8: Our Bill of Health: 47

Representing the interests and expectations of people with disabilities to be fully included.

Comprising organisations that represent and support people with disabilities

The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) represents the interests and the expectations of people with disabilities to be fully included in Irish society.  It comprises organisations that represent and support people with disabilities and disabling conditions.              

The vision of DFI is that Irish society is fully inclusive of people with disabilities and disabling conditions so that they can exercise their full civil, economic, social and human rights and that they are enabled to reach their full potential in life.  DFI’s mission is to act as an advocate for the full and equal inclusion of people with disabilities and disabling conditions in all aspects of their lives. 

There are over 120 organisations within membership or as associates of DFIDFI also works with a growing number of organisations and groups around the country that have a significant disability interest, mainly from the statutory and voluntary sectors.

DFI provides:

  • Information
  • Training and Support
  • Networking
  • Advocacy and Representation
  • Research and Policy Development / Implementation
  • Organisation and Management Development

DFI works on the basis that disability is a societal issue and so works with Government, and across the social and economic strands and interests of society.

Disability Federation of Ireland, Fumbally Court, Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8

Tel: 01-4547978, Fax: 01-4547981

Email: info@disability-federation.ie  Web: www.disability-federation.ie

Union of Voluntary Organisations of People with Disabilities trading as The Disability Federation of Ireland is a company limited by guarantee not having share capital, registered in Dublin. Registered No. 140948, CHY No 6177


[1] CSO (2012) Profile 8 Our Bill of Health:7

[2] CSO (2013) Survey of  Income and Living Conditions:9

[3] Cullinan, J.,Gannon,B and Lyons,S. (2010) ‘Estimating the Extra Cost of Living for People with Disabilities’. Health Economics Volume 20, Issue 5

[4] A community development approach committed to achieving a Gold Star Status for people with disabilities in Cashel. It involves working with local communities (including people with disabilities) and structures to improve disability awareness, to ensure the accessibility of all premises and activities, and support the full integration of people with disabilities in social and cultural life. www.cashelgoldstar.ie

[5] CSO.(2012) Profile 8: Our Bill of Health:30

[6]Nolan, B. & Watson, D. (2011) A Social Portrait of People with Disabilities in Ireland. ESRI:20

[7] Nolan, B. & Watson, D. (2011) A Social Portrait of People with Disabilities in Ireland. ESRI:21

[8] CSO (2012) Profile 8 Our Bill of Health:15

[9] CSO (2013) Survey of  Income and Living Conditions:8

[10] Housing Agency. 2013 Summary of Social Housing Assessments Key Findings:10

[11] Homeless persons in Ireland, a special Census 2011 report:10

[12] Nolan, B. & Watson, D. (2011) A Social Portrait of People with Disabilities in Ireland. ESRI:45

[13] Local and Rural Integrated Transport Services (LARITS) facilitates the integration of local and rural transport services providing access to employment, health, social and education opportunities.

[14] Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. (2012)Putting People First. Action Programme for Effective Local Government http://www.environ.ie/en/Publications/LocalGovernment/Administration/FileDownLoad,31309,en.pdf

 

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