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Inclusion Ireland backs DEPA
rights, freedoms and repression |
Monday April 03, 2006 12:51 by Miriam Cotton - Disability Election Pledge Alliance info at inclusionireland dot ie Unit C2, The Steelworks, Foley Street, Dublin 1 Ireland 01 855 9891
Challenge to the Disability Act 2005 gathers momentum
On Saturday, the Disability Election Pledge Alliance secured a significant boost to its campaign against the Disability Act 2005 at the AGM of Inclusion Ireland (formerly the National Association for the Mentally Handicapped in Ireland/NAMHI). The resolution was proposed by the Limerick Association of Parents & Friends and seconded by the Asperger Syndrome Association of West Cork. A number of speakers addressed the conference in support of the motion which was resoundingly passed by the hundreds of delegates present.
The need for appropropriate rights-based legislation was starkly underlined by the other motions submitted to the conference, which reflected the ongoing difficulties that carers and people with disability are forced to struggle with:
"The AGM calls on the government to front load funding for intellectual disability services for the next five years, commencing with E250,000 million, with an appropriate capital sum, in order to make real inroads into waiting lists for new residential, day and respite services"
"The AGM calls on the Minister for Health & Children to eliminate waiting lists for residential care, by increasing available resources, both human and financial to ensure that people with intellectual disability can access residential and respite places when they wish and require them , and not when it has become an emergency response."
"This AGM calls on the secretariat of Inclusion Ireland to liaise with all relevant Iirish disability organisations well in advance of the next budget in order to prepare a joint pre-budget submission to government requesting the government to allocate sufficient monies to provide appropriate and necessary therapeutic services to all people with disabilities in accordance with international best practice and to put the necessary educational facilities in place in order to do so on an ongoing basis."
"This AGM calls on the Minister for Health & Children to implement the National Disability Authority national standards for disability services and put in place the relevant authority to oversee these standards."
"This AGM is seriously concerned at the action of the Health Service Executive in moving intellectually disabled clients from existing residential care to nursing homes, in the absence of enforceable contracts in respect of appropriate individual care, or continuity of any care."
"This AGM calls on the secretariat of Inclusion Ireland to bring about formal debate, which will lead to national guidelines for service providers to support people with intellectual disability in managing their disability allowance, thereby standardising procedures for service providers, ensuring transparency, accountability and equity for all people with an intellectual disability."
The outgoing Chairperson of Inclusion Ireland, Mr Stephen Kealy, speaking on the subject of funding for services, made the following observations to delegates in his address to the conference:
"The National Intellectual Database identifes that over 60% of persons withintellectual disabilities are awaiting new or enhanced services or will require such services before 2010. On teh basis of current funding it is difficult to see how these service requirements will be met within this time line. During discussion with the HSE and the Department of Health and Children key words were used -
These words repeatedly presented during discussion not only in the context of the cost of services but also of helping parents with their son or daughter within the family home. What is critically important to this association is that these words are not a harbinger for cheap services and supports which contribute to fewer quality of life options for people with intellectual disabilites. The service component must have the right fit for parents, the funder and the person with intellectual disability. There is something wrong, isn't there, about the sequence I have just presented. The sequence should really read the person with intellectual disability, the family and then the funder."
In her report to the conference, Ms Deirdre Carroll referred to the Disability Act 2005:
"One of the key events last year was the enactment of the Disability Act 2005. This time last year members voted to reject the then Bill as it was not a rights-based piece of legislation. Today we have a Disability Act which in the view of Inclusion Ireland falls far shrot of the vision imagined by the Commission on the Status of People with Disabilites in its report "Strategy for Equality" published thenyears ago this year.
The Disability Legislation Consultative Group of which Inclusion Ireland was an active member (establishe by government in 2001 and to consult on new legislation) pointed out 5 core issues which they said must be addressed before the then Bill proved acceptable to people with disabilities and their families. Unfortunately, only minor and technical amendments were accepted and Inclusion Ireland, along with the Forum ofr People with Disabilities and teh NPSA, withdrew from the DLCG as it was unable to continue to be part of a process whereby people were consulted but not listened to.
Inclusion Ireland has written to the Minsiter with responsiblity for this Act,Mr Frank Fahey TD, outlining our views and have suggested to him that a new representative structure with clear terms of reference be established to have a consultative and monitoring role with respect to the Act. The Minister, in his reply to Inclusion Ireland last January, has acknowledged the advantages of such a group. Yet at the same time makes it clear that "there are no proposals for changes in such a recently enacted measure."
It remains now for the Disability Election Pledge Alliance to make it clear to the Minister that this response is as inadequate and inappropriate as the Act itself.