In response to the HSE cuts to Personal Assistance services and Home Care packages a group of people with disabilities under the banner of the Leaders Alliance have organised a demonstration tomorrow outside Government Buildings. The statement below explains their concerns and the wider issues which need to be addressed in addition to rescinding the cuts.
People with disabilities to protest on Cuts to Independent Living Supports, ahead of Cabinet meeting
Disabled people are travelling to protest outside Government Buildings on Tuesday 4th September -coinciding with a meeting of the Cabinet - to launch a campaign to bring an end to the appalling cuts to Personal Assistance and Home Help Services.
On Tuesday 4th September from 12:00 pm – People with disabilities, their PAs, Home Helps and families will protest against the disgraceful, retrograde and inhumane cuts to these frontline services for as long as it takes to abandon this decision.
Disabled people involved in this campaign have said:
‘’These cuts are illogical, and counter to Government policy. These Cuts make no economic sense and will increase costs to the exchequer and will deny people basic fundamental rights to live with dignity and choice.’’
This protest is organised by people with disabilities who require Personal Assistance and other supports to live independently in their communities as is consistent with Government policy. Supports that ensure people can receive education, obtain employment, travel to/from work, contribute and participate in many other ways within their communities. Supports which ensure that many isolated people in rural and urban settings have vital links to their communities and live lives with choice and dignity, and are not forced to access expensive hospital beds or nursing homes.
Key issues to be addressed by Government
The Government decision will mean PA and Home Help Services will be reduced or withdrawn from people throughout the country with immediate effect and will:
- Prevent disabled and older people from living independently in their own homes;
- Reduce the jobs of front-line PAs and Home Help workers.
Government Must Abandon these Cuts and
1. Immediately assess the needs of all disabled and older people on waiting lists for personal assistance and other community based services who are currently held captive in costly acute hospital beds and nursing homes.
2. Commit to the non-dilution of emancipative Personal Assistance Services with restrictive Home Help Services.
3. Apply Government policy of supporting older and disabled people to live in their homes and participate in the community in order to remove pressure on costly institutions and acute hospital beds, but NOT to institutionalise them in their own homes through inadequate provision of Home Help and PA services.
4. The Government must provide PA and Home Help employees equal status with directly employed HSE staff protected by the Croke Park Agreement.
5. The Government must commit to ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by January 2013.
6. The Government must provide Independent Living the status it deserves and agree to transfer the social supports (i.e. PA and Home Help Services) currently provided by the Department of Health to the Department of Social Protection by January 2014.
7. PA and Home Help Services must be available on the basis of need.
The protest against the PA cuts will begin this Tuesday morning and continue with an escalated campaign for as long as it takes for us as citizens to be given back our independence. We recognise the economic realities we face as a country. Government does have choices to reform that do not involve targeting groups already experiencing barriers to participate in Irish Society.
We are a non-aligned group of people with disabilities who use Personal Assistance services who have formed a Leaders Alliance and members are available for interview.
Join us on Tuesday 4th outside Government Buildings, Merrion Street from 12.00 PM.
Nothing about Us Without Us!
(if media need contact information for spokespeople you can contact me on tips @ mamanpoulet.com and I can provide a list of numbers.)