Government’s inaction on disability strategy criticised

Ivana Bacik TD
17 April 2024
  • Taoiseach Commitment to Meet with Cara Darmody Welcomed – but more urgent Government action needed on disability rights

Labour Party Leader Ivana Bacik TD, in Leader’s Questions today, brought attention to the lack of substantial action in addressing the rights and needs of people with disabilities in Ireland.

Deputy Bacik said,

“The recent announcement by the Taoiseach of a new Oireachtas Committee on Children, Education and Disability was widely touted as progress. However, what we need is concrete action, and not just symbolic gestures. Adding the word ‘disability’ to the Committee’s title does not address the systemic barriers and challenges faced by people with disabilities in accessing essential services and support.

“People with disabilities and their families are left fighting for basic needs, and struggling to access vital assessments and services. Access to services is a fundamental right, yet people with disabilities are continually forced to navigate bureaucratic hurdles and fight for their basic needs. This is unacceptable in a society that claims to value equality and inclusion.

“The lack of a clear timeline and commitment to the National Autism Strategy further exacerbates Government’s failure to prioritise disability rights.

“During Leader’s Questions today, I sought a commitment from the Taoiseach to meet with the young autism advocate Cara Darmody and her family, to ensure that action is taken to address the appalling backlog in assessments of need and the long delays for children in accessing diagnosis and services as a result. I welcome the Taoiseach’s commitment that he will meet Cara over the next few weeks, but we still need more action.

“In his response to me today, the Taoiseach also mentioned the requirement for workforce planning in the sector. If workforce planning is indeed a priority, why was it not adequately addressed when the Taoiseach served as Minister for Health?

“The Government must move beyond rhetoric and take concrete steps to implement meaningful change. We call on the government to prioritise the implementation of Labour’s National Autism Empowerment Strategy. Lip service is not enough, we need action.”

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