Holly Cairns TD

Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns has accused the Government of blatant hypocrisy after it emerged that €1.5 million has been spent on an advertising campaign promoting disability rights – all while the State continues to deny disabled people those very rights.

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

“The disability awareness campaign, which has been heavily promoted in newspapers, on television, radio and in public spaces, is bound to rankle with disabled people in Ireland. Its core message that ‘Disability Rights Are Human Rights’ sounds like a sick joke for several reasons.

“The shameful reality is that disability rights in this country are just a myth. From the moment they are born, disabled people and their families must fight the system to access even the most basic services.

“More than 16,500 are currently waiting for their first appointment with a Children’s Disability Network Team (CDNT). Of these, around 10,000 have been waiting for over a year with no intervention or therapy. Rather than enjoy basic rights, these children are being actively harmed due to persistent neglect by the State.

“The €1.5 million squandered on a hypocritical advertisement campaign would be better spent on desperately needed investment in threadbare disability services.

“If the Government is genuinely serious about respecting the human rights of disabled people, it would ratify the optional protocol of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) without further delay. Parties that ratify the protocol agree to recognise the competence of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to consider complaints from individuals or groups who claim that their rights under the UNCRPD have been violated.

“If disabled people had rights, as the advertisements claim, they would be able to take a case to the UN to exercise these rights.”

November 9, 2023

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