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

The State and/of Disability

May 30th, 2012 · 6 Comments · Disability, Equality, Social Policy

The Scottish Human Rights Commission and the Equality and Human Rights Commission Scotland have produced a really excellent video on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

This is the convention that Ireland can’t ratify because of an 1871 Lunacy Act that has yet to be repealed. Yes 1871. And even if the act is repealed the legislation replacing it may continue to limit the choices of people with disabilities and the ways in which they are supported to make decisions.

And even if the convention was ratified would the state ensure that people have the rights to choose where and how they live, the right to a job, the right to education, the right to make our own decisions.

Or will 700 young people leaving school this summer

  • continue with their families to be pawns between service providers and the state,
  • continue to be referred to as children by the Irish Times in their editorial in a manner that they would never use to refer to able bodied school leavers.
  • Only have the choice of a day service that possibly has a vacant place rather than an exciting and stimulating  activity or occupation that is truly suited to them and of their choice. In fact who asked any of the 700 do they want to go into a day service in the first place or if it is the most appropriate place for them?

And 85% of the budget on disability services goes on staff – this wouldn’t be so alarming if people had a choice in who worked with them and how it was spent and were not

  • confined to congregated settings, or
  •  nursing homes, or
  •  residential places that are not inspected by the state, or
  • living with and cared for by family without they or their family being asked if they want this to happen.  It is just assumed.

But we’re in a recession and human rights and equality don’t matter while the books are got in order and the banks are bailed out.  Much of this is not about money or more money. It’s vested interests, best interests, ‘how it was always done’, louder voices getting in first, broken promises and sticking plasters like the Disability Act 2005 which has us in the state of disability we are in.

And new jobs in the social care and social entrepreneurial/not for profit (aka jobs for the fortunate making a living out of the unfortunate) are announced by organisations who make their staff with disabilities redundant and the government sits by and cheerleads the job creation.

The convention can’t come in soon enough but they’ll have to nuke the system that has developed to support and service the supposed needs of people with disabilities or we will continually be in breach of it. Or maybe the government will justify the breaches as a result of unreasonable expectations or the troika says no.

So how was your day?


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