Marking International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the 3rd of December 2021, Clare Sinn Féin TD Violet-Anne Wynne has said that although progress has been made, there is still a long way to go before the State adopts a rights-based model of service-provision.
Teachta Wynne said:
“Today marks a day of celebration and Disabled People should be rightly, celebrated in terms of their diversity and the adversity they face championing their rights.
“If only Disabled People didn’t have to struggle and fight for every single one of their rights.
“Here in Clare we have a very vocal and active Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO) in the form of the Clare Leader Forum. Their predecessor, the Disabled People of Clare (DPOC) was one of the first grassroots, self-representative groups of activists in this State in the 90s.
“Clare is a stronghold of self-advocacy and the Disabled People’s Movement has always had a presence in the county.
“It’s a pity that despite some change that has taken place over the last few decades, we still have a very long way to go.
“Disabled People still have to fight for their Independence. It has been accepted for far too long that Disabled People are “ok” living in institutional and residential settings, as opposed to living their best lives.
“More often than not, people and this State have very low expectations of Disabled People in terms of their full potential.
“Take homecare supports for example. Often times support is offered for a few hours at a time. Just enough time to have a shower or a meal perhaps. Where is the social life? Where is the support to participate fully and meaningfully in society?
“We need to move towards a model of service-provision that assists Disabled People to have the support they want, when they want and where they want. It’s all about choice and control.
“My work on the Disability Matters Committee meeting to date has been very eye-opening and I am honoured to have witnessed brutally honest testimonies of direct lived experience as to what it is like to be a Disabled Person in Ireland in 2021.
“There are more than enough seats at the table, Disabled People have been excluded from the conversation for long enough, tá sé in am athrú.
“For this day of celebration, I commend all of the work done by activists and activist who campaign day in day out to ensure that services are based on rights not charity.
“I will continue to represent Clare constituents and call for a society where the will and preference of Disabled People is respected by the State, and true Independence is experienced by all of Ireland’s children equally.”