Tully calls for more support for disability at Ard Fheis

Giving people with disabilities the tools to address situations where their rights are not being met was the central plank of a motion Deputy Pauline Tully raised at her party's Ard Fheis.

Deputy Tully, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Disability and Carers, called on the government to fully implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and ratify the Optional Protocol.

At the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis on Saturday she spoke on a number of motions on the delivery of rights for people with disabilities and carers.

“The government need to take the implementation of the UNCRPD seriously and invest properly in supports which would enable people with disabilities to live an independent life,” Deputy Tully said at the the party's first Ard Fheis in two years, held at The Helix in DCU.

Access to educational and training opportunities, the provision of supports for employment and addressing discriminating against disabled people who want to set up their own business were all highlighted as key areas to be addressed.

“There must be recognition that disabled people need additional support to allow this to happen. Living in the community is not just about accessible housing it is about access to affordable transport, access to education and employment, to be able to live life to the full and not be subject to some imposed timetable within an institution,” she said.

Pointing to Ireland’s rate of employment of disabled people at 32.3% Deputy Tully said it is almost 20% lower than the EU average: “We have the highest rate of disabled people at risk of poverty in western Europe at 37.8%,” she told.

Additional Personal Assistance hours, a commitment to faster decongregation and moving young people out of nursing homes were also addressed.

“I want to salute carers for their commitment to their jobs and again call on the government to properly recognise the contribution of carers to the economy where billions of Euros are saved every year by their selfless work and to recognise this by increasing the carers support grant and other supports such as respite and relax the means-test for the carers allowance,” Deputy Tully said in her address.