DFI Launches Election Campaign at Leinster House

12th May 2014

Dublin

The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) today launched its posters and election campaign for the Local and European elections outside Leinster House.  As part of its Campaign DFI is asking that Candidates sign a pledge that they will “Leave Nobody Behind.”  That if elected they will work to ensure that people with disabilities do not get left behind by working to implement DFI’s Top Election Priorities.

On 23rd 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.

Speaking at the launch, John Dolan, CEO of DFI stated “Today is not really about these elections, it is about the future of people with disabilities and their families.  Since 2008, there have been consistent and growing cuts to necessary services and income supports that people with disabilities and their families rely on.  These people have been left behind.”

He continued “There is not sufficient ambition across the whole of Government to implement its own plans for people with disabilities, to ensure that services are protected, or being developed to accommodate the growing levels of need.  People are living longer and our population is growing, yet this Government does not seem to be future proofing services and supports.  It has become clear that our public and social services have failed to protect the life chances of people with disabilities.  There no longer exists a functional infrastructure of social supports in this state that is available when people with disabilities and their families need it.  By the end of next year, we will no longer have the basic elements to support people with disabilities.”

Talking about economic recovery, he said “We are now hearing repeated calls for pay rises and for tax reductions from the business and trade union movements, and the case being made is that the extra money circulating will help the economic recovery.  There must be no further consideration of these approaches until Ireland has a credible and functioning infrastructure to support people with disabilities, mental health needs, chronic illnesses and their families.”

He concluded by stating “Disability and long term illnesses are things that take up residence in every home at some stage, and no amount of private health insurance will successfully buffer you against it.  Only a strong and thoughtful public health and social services system will give the protection.  Only a committed, ambitious and determined state can deliver that and it needs the active support of the community to support it.  Can the people of Ireland consider it a recovery when it deliberately overlooks those amongst us that have, or will have, these support needs?  Are we content to deliberately leave people and families behind?”

ENDS

Contact:

John Dolan 086 7957467

Allen Dunne 086 8502112

Jacqueline Grogan 086 3882600

Note to editors: Further information on DFI’s election campaign can be found at http://www.disability-federation.ie/index.php?uniqueID=10807

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