“If we provided an open cheque book for people with disabilities they could technically demand all the money in next year’s budget and there would be nothing left for other pressing demands like cancer and heart patients,” Mr O’Dea said.
The minister would do well to understand the definition of disability as laid down by the UN and the World Health Organisation before making rash and offensive statements like that.
He should also reflect on what happened to his predecessor over not bringing in a rights-based Disability Bill in 2001.
The Taoiseach promised last July that the Government would implement rights-based legislation in November, but ever since a different Government spokesman has chipped away at this promise.
The Special Olympics are soon forgotten and, with them, the tremendous goodwill that was shown to people with special needs.
The Government must remember that people with special needs have these needs every day of their lives, and not for a week every couple of years.
The Government is negligent in not providing enough classroom assistants to children with special needs this year. It is a constitutional right of these children to receive an education up to 18 years of age. Yet the Government turns a blind eye to their own neglect.
There are children in every parish in Ireland who have not yet darkened the doors of their local primary school.
This is only one section of the disability spectrum where the State has failed to fulfil its obligations.
The Government can make all the difference by introducing rights-based legislation this year.
PwDI, Waterford Network,
22, Lr Main Street,