December 3, 2020
UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities important reminder of much needed change – Pauline Tully TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Disability, Pauline Tully TD, has paid tribute to people with disabilities, campaigners, advocates and those working within the sector as she marked the UN International Day of Persons With Disabilities.

Teachta Tully, who is a member of the Oireachtas Committee on Disability Matters, said:

“The Disability Matters Committee held a special meeting this morning to mark UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities.  The meeting was addressed by representatives from Special Olympics Ireland, WALK and Trinity Centre for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities. 

“All of the speakers raised excellent and important points which often do not receive enough focus.  Special mention must be made of Margaret Turley, a special Olympian, graduate of Waterford Institute of Technology and Trinity Centre and permanent employee of Ernst & Young.  Margaret outlined her many achievements but emphasised the opportunity these have afforded her to make friends and feel included.

“All of the speakers outlined how Covid has negatively impacted on all our lives but pointed out how this is how many people with Intellectual Disabilities feel on an ongoing basis.  The absence of friends and feeling of loneliness and isolation are commonplace for many with disabilities.

“Both WALK and The Trinity Centre described the supports they offer to people with ID to participate fully in education and training and in obtaining employment. 

”All of this highlights the importance of the work facing the Committee in ensuring the full implementation of the UNCPRD and building a truly inclusive society.

“This can only be achieved by every government department ensuring that the rights of people with disabilities are central to their policies and legislation.

“The speakers here today highlighted the benefits of participating in sport for the physical and mental wellbeing of individuals, and most importantly the confidence this instils.  Also being given the opportunity to work adds to this feeling of confidence and inclusivity. 

“One issue that continually comes up at committee level is the very low percentage of people with disabilities in employment in Ireland, one of the lowest in Europe, something that needs to be addressed urgently.

“I would like on this UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities, to pay tribute to all those working in the sector, People with Disabilities, campaigners and advocates.

“I would like to reiterate Sinn Féin’s commitment to ensuring citizens with disabilities can access full rights. I will continue to highlight the need for better funding and resources for the sector and work to ensure this is achieved.”

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