'No promises' on disability cuts

Thu, Oct 4, 2012, 01:00

A Government Minister today refused to rule out further cuts to disability services in the upcoming budget.

Speaking at the launch of Disability Federation of Ireland’s pre-budget submission this afternoon, Minister of State for Disability Kathleen Lynch accepted  further cuts may be made.

However, she pledged to do all that she could to ensure that people with disabilities are well represented in the budget.

“I am not here to give you false promises. I am here to tell you what I can do. It is in all of our interests that we get this agenda completed. I will fight for this budget,” she said.

Disability Federation Ireland vice chairman John O’Sullivan said the budget will have to respect that people with disabilities are entitled to experience ordinary lives. “This is a critical time for people with disabilities and for the voluntary organisations working with them. We want to send a strong, clear message to the Oireachtas: Budget 2013 must end the erosion of supports that enable people with disabilities to lead full lives as citizens of Ireland.”

Federation chief executive John Dolan called on the Taoiseach and Tánaiste to keep promises they made to people with disabilities prior to entering Government.

“The Programme for Government states, ‘by the end of our term in Government, Ireland will be recognised as a modern, fair, socially inclusive society'. While this Government has not served its full term, the beautifully crafted statement above now seems a distant aspiration for people with a disability and very far removed from their day to day experience,” Mr Dolan said.

“Only the Government, with a clear-cut implementation plan to support the National Disability Strategy, can address the injustices which are now emerging.  Even in the good times, it was well established that people with disability were more likely to experience poverty and this helps to inform us of the dire circumstances now confronting too many of them.”