Disability Groups Use Special Olympics Momentum To Challenge Irish
Government On Supports
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 1, 2003
DUBLIN, IRELAND--Two days after the close of the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games, a federation of 60 disability groups demanded the government secure more services and supports for Ireland's 120,000 citizens with disabilities.
"The Special Olympics has really brought home to Irish society the positive aspects of disability and has shown how people with disability can contribute. The job is to continue that momentum and bring that attitude into Government policy," explained John Saunders, chairman of the Disability Federation of Ireland, who hoped the event would give officials "something to think about" during the summer break.
Among other things, the groups are demanding accessible housing; "suitable accommodation" for more than 1,100 seniors placed inappropriately in psychiatric hospitals; "proper accommodation" and support for almost 1,000 young people with chronic illnesses; support for families that care for a relative with a disability at home; and making permanent a temporary community employment program that employs people as personal care assistants.
The groups insist that all services and supports be protected by a new Disability Bill to guarantee the rights of people with disabilities.
The government's 166 deputies and 60 senators were invited to Tuesday's gathering. Only about 60 attended.