The Social Work Action Network Ireland is a growing grassroots organisation of service users, social workers, social care workers, academics, community workers and carers who are committed to the values of equality, social justice, protection of human rights and opposition to all forms of oppression committed to the values of equality, social justice, protection of human rights and opposition to all forms of oppression. committed to the values of equality, social justice, protection of human rights and opposition to all forms of oppression. commited to the values of equality, social justice, protection of human rights and opposition to all forms of oppression.. We are made up of voting constituents from all over the country.
We are writing to you to alert you of our concerns about the Department of Health’s public “consultation” process for the review of transport support for persons with disabilities. We believe that this process is not fair, equitable and is quite discriminatory.
This consultation, in our view, is an attempt by the Irish Government to deny people with disabilities and older persons their rights to mobility and accessibly which includes a right to ‘freedom of movement’, ‘freedom of association’, and the fundamental right of ‘freedom of self-determination’.
We believe that the 5 areas that the department have highlighted as “key considerations” is this government’s attempt to squeeze a rights-based mobility/transport scheme into narrow parameters as a cost-cutting ‘austerity’ cut back. We know that certain government ministers have stated it would be “too costly” to provide a transport support that complies with equality legislation . And we know that this government has advised that the intention is to only continue to “ring-fence” the 10.6 million euro which has been provided for transport services up until now. These statements clearly show that this government is not willing to give the rights of people with disabilities and older person a means of mobility and transport as required in law. Instead of approaching this issue through a human rights and legislative lens, this government is putting economic considerations ahead of the public good.
We therefore ask you to immediately highlight this pressing issue with your colleagues and with the relevant minsters, James Reilly and Alan Shatter. We want you to openly state that to deny people their rights under equality legislation is unconstitutional and against the law. We want you to openly state that using this public consultation process to tighten and restrict the eligibility criteria for mobility allowance and motorised transport grant is unethical and unbecoming of a supposed welfare state society who’s ethos should be to care for the vulnerable, marginalised and oppressed in society.
As people working in the caring professions and as service users, we are growing increasingly disgusted at the measures taken by government and state bodies that clearly see economics and money as a end in itself instead of as a means to further the social good.
We look forward to hearing your thoughts on this matter with the urgency it deserves.
Member of The Social Work Action Network Ireland
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