Labour candidate Fergal Landy highlights Disability Rights as key issue.

Fergal Landy, Labour’s Midlands North-West candidate for the upcoming European elections and a candidate for election to Galway County Council for the Oranmore/Athenry, says that disability rights have been a very significant issue during his campaigning.

“While canvassing, numerous people have raised the issue of disability rights, possibly because I included improving social rights at European level, for children, families, people with disabilities and the elderly.

“Many constituents have indicated to me that they feel the rights of some of our most vulnerable citizens and the concerns of their careers are being overlooked in both the European and local election campaigns.

“Disability rights have come up in a few ways. Firstly, in respect of the inadequacy of the assessment of need process compounded by further delays in the provision of the required interventions, therapies and in respite care. Educational supports are also a major concern with parents I have met canvassing in Oranmore and Athenry concerned about educational support and identifying specific shortfalls in suitable school places for children with ASD, especially at secondary level.”

A recent parliamentary question by Labour Party T.D, Sean Sherlock revealed that 118 children are waiting on an assessment of need in Galway currently.

“In addition to children with disabilities, I have had parents of adults with intellectual disabilities speak with me about their concern for their son or daughter’s long term care needs as they attempt to plan for what will happen when they are no longer there to support them.

“Lastly, there is sense of a quite punitive approach by the State towards vulnerable groups and those who support them. For example, one man told me how his entitlement to carers allowance has been affected by his spouse’s income, a short-term approach that will likely lead to his elderly parent entering residential care.

“Another man who gave up work to care his uncle who had recently passed away and felt that despite his uncle paying tax all his life, the State had pursued his uncle financially through the Fair Deal scheme in a manner that seemed very punitive. Much more discretion and balance are required, that takes account of individual circumstances, rather than a one size fits all approach.

“We need to adopt a much more rights-based approach, where the rights of vulnerable groups are prioritised over other political considerations. We need to fully implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Disability rights can be progressed at European level in a manner that impacts positively at national and local level. I would like to provide a voice for these concerns”.