Ask Three Questions – Get Three Answers!
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Local and European Election 2014
On 23 May this year, citizens across Ireland will elect the candidates they choose to represent them in local government and in the European parliament over the next five years. Among those casting their votes on the day will be many of the 595,000 citizens in Ireland with a disability, as well as their families, friends and communities. These elections therefore represent a hugely important moment for these groups of voters to ensure the mainstreaming, inclusion and equality of people with disabilities.
Here at the Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI), we are determined to seize this opportunity to have the voice of people with disabilities heard and listened to in the processes that affect their everyday lives. People with disabilities count, and our ‘Ask Three Questions’ campaign works to ensure that disability is placed firmly on the agenda. The campaign is designed so that everyone has the important questions to hand whenever their local candidates come knocking to the door. We want everyone to ask these questions, and, most importantly, to get the three answers which matter!
In Ireland, people with disabilities continue to endure significantly poorer social and economic outcomes. Disabled people remain twice as likely to live below the poverty line as the rest of the population, with 11% experiencing high levels of consistent poverty. Only 20% of people with disabilities are at work, compared to 50% for the overall population, while 43% have not progressed beyond primary education. These realities cannot be ignored any longer.
‘Ask Three Questions’ gives people with disabilities, their families, friends and communities the opportunity to raise the issues most important to them with those who will go on to represent them. Our Chief Executive, John Dolan, explained, “We’re here to make a case for an inclusive society that says we leave nobody behind. Disability is a universal and societal issue; it is only when we truly listen to the voice of people with disabilities that we can move towards a fully inclusive and equal society.”
Election 2014 Campaign
‘Ask Three Questions’ forms just one part of our Election 2014 campaign. Our two election manifestos call on candidates to commit to working towards an equal and accessible society, fully inclusive to people with disabilities.
Our Local Election 2014 Manifesto calls on candidates to commit to:
- Enable people with disabilities to access mainstream public services and supports;
- Promote and facilitate the participation of people with disabilities in local decision-making structures; and
- Guiding local government by the National Disability Strategy Implementation Plan (NDSIP) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
Our European Parliament Election 2014 Manifesto urges candidates to:
- Establish a Directorate for Disability Inclusion and appoint a Commissioner Vice President with dedicate responsibility for disability;
- Fully ratify and monitor the UNCRPD across Europe and in Ireland;
- Protect people with disabilities against the negative impact of austerity measures;
- Mainstream disability rights across all areas of the European Union and national policies;
- Establish ‘One Europe for All’ that is fully inclusive of people with disabilities; and
- Renew the commitment to a barrier-free Europe.