Cabal at Anglo 'destroyed country', says disabled teen
Joanne O'Riordan, the extraordinary teenager who the nation took to their hearts because of her "can do" spirit in the face of profound disability, has launched a blistering attack on the "bankers who destroyed our country".
Joanne, who was born with Tetra-amelia syndrome which means she has no limbs, spoke about the impact the Anglo Tapes – revealed in the Irish Independent – have had on ordinary people. She said their actions have had a profound impact on the most vulnerable in Irish society, including the disabled who are now paying the price.
"This week, for so many people up and down the country, it has been a hard, tedious week with the new revelations of how the bankers almost single-handedly destroyed this country," she told a Sinn Fein Summer School at Baile Mhuirne, Cork.
The Millstreet, Co Cork, teenager summed up the despair felt by the Irish people in the wake of the Anglo revelations.
"It would appear that the society I live in, and the society we choose to accept, has far less value and respect for the ordinary, hard working citizens of this country," she said.
But she said for people with disabilities, there was a further blow this week as well as the Anglo disclosures – more of which are revealed in today's Sunday Independent.
"Further to that, it was extremely upsetting to learn that people with disabilities are going to be hit with yet another cut to their special needs hours," she said.
"Time and time again, we see how the Government has tried to control and manipulate its own citizens into thinking that we need to take these cuts, that it is best for our country as a whole if we do.
"I would love the bankers of this country to wake up one day and realise what they have done has not only destroyed our country but it has resulted in many vulnerable people becoming more and more isolated and dependent."
And she railed against the series of cuts on services to the disabled, wrought by the austerity measures introduced to help pay for the collapse of the banks.
"People with disabilities should not have to fight for the right to be independent. People with disabilities should not live in fear or anxiety. The legislators of our county and the people who have the power to protect us should be ensuring that any law which is passed is a progressive one that will enhance the quality of one's life and not take from it.
"In the last few years we have seen how the Irish Government has been ruthless in trying to cut mobility allowance, SNA (special needs assistants) cuts and disability payments," she said.