Disability groups vow to continue fight after Enda Kenny meeting

Disability campaigners who organised a three-day sit-down outside Government Buildings have described as disappointing a meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

The protest, by Inclusion Ireland and other disability groups, was suspended after the meeting was granted on Wednesday evening, sparing wheelchair users a second night in the open.

But campaigners were back on the street yesterday morning, after what they said was a frustrating meeting, with Mr Kenny and Disability Minister, Kathleen Lynch.

Martin Naughton, one of the campaign leaders who attended the meeting, said while they attempted to raise new ways of caring for, and supporting, people with disabilities, it had not been possible to move the discussion away from “the same old models that haven’t worked and don’t work”.

“There didn’t seem to be much vision around the rights and preferences, contributions and potential, of people with disabilities in a modern society,” he said.

The groups are campaigning against cuts in disability services; inadequate disability welfare payments; the lack of a say in the type of care provided; and the use of scarce finances to invest in residential care, instead of supports that would allow people with disabilities to live independently.

They say the budget should be used to overhaul the way disability supports and services are provided. Mr Kenny told the group that various measures were being considered for the budget and nothing was decided yet.

The groups will hold a joint meeting next month to plan a social-media campaign aimed at making disability rights a key election issue. Their campaign will ask the public to “lend us your vote to change the lives of people with disabilities, and their families, for once and for all”. The protest ended yesterday afternoon.


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