Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Deputy Pearse Doherty will this afternoon table a Private Members’ motion before the Dáil calling on the Government to significantly improve supports and services made available to all those living with a disability.
Amongst the key demands contained in the Sinn Féin motion includes the advancement of proposed legislation which aims to protect the rights of persons living with a disability as well as for further investment in disability services.
The motion is also calling on the Government to abolish the controversial ‘in loco parentis’ clause in In-home palliative care supports for children with life limiting conditions – something continues to cause great distress to families across the county who are in receipt of the package.
Deputy Doherty said:“I am delighted to have the opportunity to put my name to this Sinn Féin Private Members’ motion which is set to be debated in the Dáil this afternoon.
“Our motion recognises the additional challenges which the more than 640,000 people living with a disability across the state face in their everyday lives.
“For many of them this includes difficulty in accessing services and supports, barriers in terms of educational attainment and workplace advancement, and moreover the opportunities simply not being present in order to reach their full potential in life.
“Data from the Central Statistics Office shows that while overall general poverty rates are improving, the situation is actually getting worse for people who live with a disability.
“The unemployment rate amongst persons with a disability is more than double the rate for the general population at 26.3 per cent, while living with a disability can incur additional living expenses of anywhere between €207 and €276 per week.
“Our motion today calls on the Government to do more to urgently address this alarming picture through legislative measures and by significantly ramping up investment in disability services here.
“Specifically, Sinn Féin is calling on Government to ensure that entitlements to services for those living with a disability and corresponding assessment of need is enshrined in legislation, including the publication and enactment of the Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016.
“The motion is demanding an additional 500,000 personal assistance hours to help meet the needs of service users and to bolster their participation not just at home, but within the community as well as in the workplace and in society more broadly.
“Similarly, we’re seeking an increase in funding for housing adaption grants and respite care services by 50 per cent and 20 per cent respectively, and guaranteed entitlement to a medical card for all those living with a serious medical condition.
“Furthermore, and what has become an extremely contentious issue for many families of children with complex needs across Donegal is the HSE’s ‘in loco parentis’ clause in In-home palliative care packages which requires that families in receipt of the In-home supports do not leave the home during visits.
“This has meant that families of children with life limiting conditions are not receiving the normal benefits associated with respite care, despite this having been something they were previously promised by the HSE.
“I believe that at the core of our motion today is sending the message to Government that people with disabilities cannot continue to live as second class citizens in this state, and I am calling on all TDs from across the political divide to support this motion when it comes before the Dáil this afternoon.”