Budget 2020 and people with disabilities

 

Sir, – Independent living is about having the freedom to have the same choices that everyone else has in housing, transportation, education and employment. Independent living is about choosing what aspects of social, economic and political life people want to participate in. Independent living is about having control over your life, to have a family, to get a job, to participate socially and to realise your goals and dreams.

For many disabled people, independent living can best be achieved by the employment of personal assistants to provide supports where needed. It is disappointing to read through Budget 2020 and not find a specific reference to disabled people and independent living.

While an increase in home-help supports is welcome, home help is not about empowering disabled people to live the lives of their choosing outside of their homes, about going to work, socialising, being part of the community. Budget 2020 reinforces the need for the personal assistance service to be legislated for as a separate support in line Ireland’s commitments under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), specifically article 19 and “the right to live in the community”.

Once again we have a budget that ignores the demands of disabled people to have supports put in place to allow us to participate in society as equals. The personal assistance service, when resourced, allows disabled people to live active lives of their choosing. By focusing on home-help hours over personal assistance, this budget will condemn many disabled people to living as prisoners in their own homes, contrary to Ireland’s commitments under the UNCRPD.

The invisibility of personal assistance again underpins the need for Ireland to work towards legislating for a right to a personal assistance service which is resourced and supports disabled people to live independent lives as equals in an inclusive Ireland. – Yours, etc,

MICHELLE GAYNOR,

Chairwoman,

Independent Living

Movement Ireland,

Dublin 7.