Action essential as people with disabilities continue to live at risk of poverty

On the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, it is crucial to remember that people with disabilities in Ireland remain twice as likely to experience poverty as the rest of the population.

Income supports and disability and health services have been devastated during the recent period of austerity, while, at the same time, the hidden costs associated with disability – including equipment and health aids, medication, heating, clothing and specialised diets – have mounted.  Under these circumstances, people with disabilities and their families face serious difficulties, with many continuing to live with the risk of falling into poverty.

As it stands, people in Ireland out of work due to a disability or illness find themselves living among the highest levels of consistent poverty at 17.6%, compared to the national average of 7.7%.  48% of this same group are at risk of deprivation, meaning that they struggle with the costs of adequate clothing and heating, and cannot afford a meal with meat or fish every second day.

Recent research by Inclusion Ireland also found that the direct costs of disability can come to €207 a week, representing around 35% of a household’s disposable income.

It is vital that people with disabilities and their families are fairly and appropriately supported to cover the costs of their condition and to ensure access to the supports and services they need.  Without this, the dignity and freedom which people with disabilities are entitled to is unjustly denied, and the risk of poverty for this group will rise once again.

Áiseanna Tacaíochta (ÁT) continues to urge Government to protect services and supports for people with disabilities, and to engage with them and their organisations to find new ways of securing real inclusion and independence.

To find out more about the events planned by the 17 October Committee Ireland for International Day to Eradicate Poverty, please click here.

To read more of the Inclusion Ireland research into the Cost of Disability, please click here.