DONEGAL TD Thomas Pringle, called for restoration of day services for people with disabilities, saying the State and the government ‘don’t give people with disabilities the respect they deserve’.
Deputy Pringle put his name to a cross-party motion tabled by Sinn Féin that called on Government to provide the funding to fully re-open day and other essential disability services, with all coronavirus-related protocols; and to provide the funding and resources to guarantee sustainable capacity within disability and dementia services.
The Deputy said he supported the motion with a sense of pride and of sadness.
“Pride because I think this is a vitally important motion, and with sadness, because I think I spoke on disability services 23 times in the last Dáil and I spoke with the help of an activist who has since died without seeing full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” he said.
Deputy Pringle said he could speak on disability services 23 times in this Dáil and 23 times in the next Dáil.
He said: “Unfortunately we’ll still be in the same situation. And that’s sad, really. But I think overall as a State and as a Government, we don’t give people with disabilities the respect they deserve.”
He said this was reflected in the Government’s slow action on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which the Irish Government signed in 2007 and ratified 11 years later, in 2018.
“That’s an absolute disgrace,” Deputy Pringle said. “I believe if we had been serious about it we would have adopted and ratified the convention on the very first day, and then we would have worked to implement it.
“I would like to see us get to a situation in this Dáil or the next Dáil that we actually do something because as a society it’s the right thing to do.
“Covid-19 is impacting hugely on people with disabilities and disability services, and how we deal with Covid-19 is going to have an ongoing impact on people with disabilities.
“It’s vital that we get ourselves together and do this now. Because people are depending on us to provide these services, and we’re not doing that. It is a sign of us as a society how we treat people who need our support to be able to live the fullest of their lives. And that’s all this is talking about.
“Government needs to take seriously its responsibility to people with disabilities and the services that have served Donegal people so well.”