Maman Poulet | Clucking away crookedly through media, politics and life

An Bord Snip (ing) the social model of disability

July 17th, 2009 · 6 Comments · Disability, Irish Politics, Recession

Dermot Ahern, Irish politician and Government ...
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I’m on holiday at the moment so have not been able to follow the release of the Report of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes but have done a search of the impact of the proposed cuts on people with disabilities.

A quick comment…

Cuts to 2000 Special Needs Assistants means that many children with disabilities will either stay outside of mainstream education and return to segregated schools – which are very few in number (and remember that segregated classes in mainstream schools were scrapped in the last budget).

You could almost feel the glee with which reference was made to the postponement in the roll out of the Disability Act and needs assessment of people with disabilities and how costs could be made by rediverting resources elsewhere.

Cutting social welfare allowances was to be expected and we could see people with disabilities disappear even further from the workforce including community employment schemes as the report recommends that people with disabilities and others are not able to keep part of their social welfare allowances when taking jobs.  There is a cost to disability that is not included in social welfare or salaries, there is also the fact that many disabled people cannot work full time – that is all topped by not being able to get work in the first place due to discrimination. Those are the reasons additional allowances and retention of some social welfare allowances was developed. But we cant afford disabled people in this society according to An Bord Snip.

The current review of services provided to people with disabilities by the voluntary sector is already underway and if the same mindset is in place then the rights of people with disabilities will not be to the fore in the examination. It would be great if this review actually asked people with disabilities what they felt about the quality of the service they received and whether they were actually doing what they wanted to do rather than endless pottery and yoga and personal development courses, travelling in minibuses marked out as ambulances donated by local businesses and labelling us as other.

Finally I note that the report recommends that the disability ‘bits’ of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform are moved to the Department of Health and Children. The medical model returns and Dermot Ahern would only be delighted to be getting rid of anything to do with human rights in his Department.

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