Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns has welcomed the Government’s decision to abandon its controversial Green Paper proposals on overhauling the system for disability payments.

Deputy Cairns, who is the party’s spokesperson on disability, said:

“The proposals in Minister Humphreys’ Green Paper were ill-judged and highly insulting to disabled people.

“It should therefore come as little surprise to the Government that there was such a strong backlash to this deeply offensive plan.

“The Green Paper contained outrageous proposals to replace the disability allowance, invalidity pension and blind pension with a so-called personal support payment.

“This would have been divided into three tiers of payments, depending on an individual’s ability to work. Under the plan, disabled people would have been subjected to a medical assessment and put into three separate categories. Those with no capacity to work were to get a slightly higher weekly payment, while others would have been expected to take up training or find a job.

“This proposal was a carbon copy of a discredited system that was introduced in the UK under austerity measures in 2008 and I welcome that it has been scrapped.

“It will now fall to the new Cabinet sub-committee on disability, announced by Taoiseach Simon Harris this week, to come up with fresh proposals.

“Any meaningful reform should recognise the cost of disability by providing a weekly cost of disability payment. In addition, personal transport supports that Fine Gael abolished over a decade ago must immediately be restored.

“It is a sad reality that disabled people’s biggest battle is often with the State when they try to access basic services, such as an assessment of need, essential therapies or personal assistance hours.

“A focus on disability is so desperately needed. We need a government that will provide the services that people are entitled to.”

April 12, 2024

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