May 12, 2020
Government’s Covid-19 exit strategy must include people with a disability – Mary Lou McDonald TD

Following a meeting today with Inclusion Ireland Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has called on the Government to include children and adults with a disability in the Covid-19 exit strategy.

The Dublin Central TD said:

“It is both disappointing and alarming for people with a disability and their families that the government has failed to recognise and provide for their unique circumstances when charting a path out of the current restrictions.

“The reality for individuals and families across the country is that the day to day services they rely on have been put on hold during the crisis. Parents of children with a disability have had no respite and have had to take on additional roles in terms of education, therapy and care.

“A survey published by inclusion Ireland today found that home schooling is not working for families who have a child with an intellectual disability or autism. Parents of children with challenging behaviour or poor attention need the support of a skilled and trained teacher.

“Access to technology has also been an issue. Just over 10 per cent of respondents have no access to any technology for schoolwork, and 45 per cent do not have access to high speed broadband.

“The roadmap as published makes no reference to these families nor does it address the unique circumstances carers face when returning to work within the governments phased plan.

“The government has also not addressed the challenges of returning to employment for workers with a disability nor acknowledged the additional employment rights protections they are likely to need in the months ahead.

“Following my meeting with Inclusion Ireland I have written to the Taoiseach and the Minister for Health calling on them to include people with a disability in the government’s exit strategy for Covid-19.

“I have also written to the Minister for Education and Skills urging him to meet with Inclusion Ireland as they have requested to discuss the emerging crisis in special education.”

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