New policy on disabled

 

Madam, – In light of the recent illuminating reports by Carl O’Brien on intellectual disabilities service provision (Invisible Lives, February 2nd 3rd), we want to call for the establishment of a properly researched, properly informed policy regarding the future needs of people with intellectual disabilities.

Such a policy should clearly inform a new strategic direction for the provision of services for people with intellectual disabilities.

It seems scandalous and incredible that it is 20 years since any government here produced a specific comprehensive policy document on the needs of people with intellectual disabilities.

Needs and Abilities: A Policy for the Intellectually Disabledwas published in 1990. Since then we have had Celtic Tigers, Special Olympic World Games and a Disability Act (which is clearly not rights-based). Despite all of this, there has been no policy direction from any government which specifically addresses the needs of people with intellectual disability.

How can any government be credible in delivering services to one of the most vulnerable groups in our society when they are working from a policy document that was developed in the same year that Nelson Mandela was released from prison?

We would ask John Moloney, Minister of State for Equality, Disability and Mental Health to put in place the mechanisms which will lead to a well-informed 21st century policy regarding how our State will meet the needs of people with intellectual disabilities in our society. – Yours, etc,

Dr FINTAN SHEERIN

COLIN GRIFFITHS,

Lecturers in Intellectual Disability Nursing

PAUL HORAN,

Lecturer in Nursing Studies,

School of Nursing Midwifery,

Trinity College Dublin,

D’Olier Street,

Dublin 2.