Protest at cuts to disability payments


Up to 2,000 people marched to Leinster House yesterday in protest at proposed cuts to disability payments.

People with disabilities, their families and supporters attended the protest, which assembled at the Central Bank before marching to Leinster House.

Attendees called on the Government to fulfil disability-related promises made in the 2011 programme for government, and called for equality and rights for people with disabilities. Among the promises made by the Coalition were to maintain social welfare rates, introduce independent inspection of disability services and bring in new legislation to replace the 1871 Lunacy Act.

“We’re down to nothing, we can’t afford any more cuts. It’s just a matter of getting from week to week. We’re calling on the Government to stop any more cuts,” said Ann Matthews from Louth, who travelled to the protest with her husband Thomas, who has a disability.

“It wouldn’t be repeatable what I want to tell the Government today. It’s disgraceful when you see the size of the salaries these politicians are on and they’re trying to take money off children, those with special needs and those with a disability. It’s people that can’t fight back,” said Mr Matthews.

Fran Kane from Tallaght was there with her 11-year-old son JJ, who has Down syndrome and arthritis.

“He doesn’t get any of the services and he doesn’t even have a school place. We had to take him out of his previous school because of health and safety issues and we can’t get a home tuition grant. He’s at home now since March and getting no education.”