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Wednesday 28 June 2017

Disability campaigners demand that the Government increases weekly disability allowances by €20

Nine disability organisations call on the Government to invest in people with disabilities
Nine disability organisations call on the Government to invest in people with disabilities

Brian Hutton

A coalition of campaigners are demanding the Government increases weekly disability allowances by €20.

They have also called for the restoration of family care grants and other funding that has been slashed over years of austerity budgets.

In their pre-budget demands, the Disability Federation of Ireland, Care Alliance Ireland, Genetic and Rare Disorders Organisation, Inclusion Ireland, Centre for Independent Living, Not for Profit Business Association, the Federation of Voluntary Bodies, Mental Health Reform and the Neurological Alliance of Ireland said disabled people need adequate income to live with dignity.

"To date, we have seen that the economic has taken precedence over the social with a whole series of cuts to the services and supports that are essential for people with disabilities who are striving to live healthy lives and participate in their communities," they said in a joint statement.

"We are calling for investment in our social and community infrastructure, to enable people with disabilities live full and independent lives, not lives hampered by barriers and obstacles to inclusion."

The nine national voluntary organisations said spending on disability services has plunged by €160m, or almost 10pc, over the past seven years.

The cutbacks have resulted in a "seriously damaged" healthcare system which should meet their needs.

John Dolan, chief executive of the Disability Federation of Ireland, said people with disabilities have a human right to live with dignity and needed proper funding to do so.

"People with disabilities can experience extra costs of living of up to €276 per week," he said.

"We are therefore calling on Government to introduce an increase of €20 to Disability Allowance as an interim measure to offset some of the additional costs of disability."

The current maximum weekly rate for Disability Allowance is €188.

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