Poverty and people with disabilities
Sir, – I refer to your editorial of February 5th on the issue of the ever-widening poverty gap for people with disabilities. The extra costs associated with having a disability have been hidden by poverty measures that look at income alone.
Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty got it totally right when she said the latest ESRI report tells us that disability and poverty are not just about income. It is also about costs and those costs are rising: the cost of living in a country that does not have adequate accessible rural and urban transport; the cost of losing a medical card if you go to work; and the cost of essential therapies that you cannot afford. These all leave their toll. Disabled people, their families and children have been left on the side-lines of Irish life during the boom, and recession, and will continue to be the subject of studies such as these for years to come unless we act now.
Yes, this is complex, and yes, people with disabilities are a diverse group of people, as the Minister pointed out at the launch. We would like to remind the Minister that the time for a systemic response across government departments is long overdue. Disabled people do not live within the neat boundaries of government department responsibilities: rather departmental boundaries form the cracks that people with disabilities fall through. – Yours, etc,