No Recovery Without Us: Carlow Kilkenny By–Election Manifesto

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Disability in Carlow and Kilkenny

There are 595,355 people in Ireland with a disability. That is 13% of the entire population of Ireland. Of these people;

  •  7,482 people have a disability in Carlow (13% of the population)

  •  11,939 people have a disability in Kilkenny (14% of the population)

Education:

  •  16% of people with a disability in Carlow did not go to secondary school. This compares to 5% of people without a disability.
  •  18% of people with a disability in Kilkenny did not go to secondary school. This compares to 3% of people without a disability.

Employment:

  •  In Carlow, of the number of people with a disability of working age, only 27% were at work. This compares to 57% of people without a disability.
  •  In Kilkenny, of the number of people with a disability of working age, only 33% were at work. This compares to 63% of people without a disability.

Impact of the Recession

Since 2008 there has been a steady loss of supports for people with disabilities in this country. People with disabilities are more likely to live in poverty than the general population. For example, in 2013, 53% of people in Ireland who were not at work due to disability or illness experienced enforced deprivation2, which means they couldn’t afford many common items that other people can.
 

People with disabilities in Carlow and Kilkenny experience is that:


• The provision of necessary supports and services which enable them to live as equal citizens in their own communities are not a priority of Government. If they were, services to support people to live in their own communities would not have been allowed to become so devastated.

• People with disabilities in both counties are treated unfairly as they continue to experience serious barriers to inclusion.

• People with disabilities do not live well in their own communities in Carlow or Kilkenny and rather than being automatically seen as equal citizens, their experience is that they are compelled to fight for every concession.

 

Key concerns raised by people with disabilities in Carlow and Kilkenny

  •  People with disabilities in Carlow and Kilkenny should be able to access mainstream public services with ease.

In Carlow and Kilkenny, services for people with disabilities in their own communities have been devastated by the recession, including access to services such as physiotherapy, speech and language therapy etc. There is a need to ensure that appropriate community supports and health infrastructure are in place and are accessible to enable people with disabilities to live well in the community.

  •  Income, employment activation and support services need to be improved at a local level for the disabled people of Carlow and Kilkenny.

All employment activation programmes need to be accessible to people with disabilities. Currently a large number of people with disabilities are not entitled to access many employment and activation programmes, and are therefore further excluded from the labour market.

  • Elected candidates and local government need to consider the needs of people with disabilities when considering walkways and pavement repairs, social housing, accessible public transport, recreational facilities etc.

All local plans need to be disability-proofed so that disability is considered in all mainstream decision making and planning processes. The Cashel Gold Star Initiative is a current model of good practice for supporting the inclusion of people with disabilities in their own communities, and we recommend the roll-out of this model to other towns across the country.

  •  The active participation of people with disabilities in local decision making structures needs to be promoted and encouraged.

The representation of people with disabilities should be promoted across all decision making fora. There is a need for effective consultation, participation structures and mechanisms to be put in place to faciliate active representation and engagement with people with disabilities.

 

Questions for all candidates:


1. What will you do to help rebuild and develop the health and community supports in Carlow and Kilkenny that people with disabilities need to continue to live in their own homes and communities?

2. How will you work with people with disabilities and their representatives to ensure that the National Disability Strategy is implemented?

3. What will you do to remove the barriers to inclusion that people with disabilities are experiencing, to ensure that they can experience real equality in Carlow and Kilkenny?

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