Disability protestors announce press conference at Kildare Street for 2 pm today

Disability protesters are back on the street today to continue their campaign, but this time in front of Dáil Eireann on Kildare Street, where they will hold a press conference at 2 pm today.

They suspended their campaign for 12 hours overnight, following what they described as a “disappointing meeting” with An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD and Minister of State for Primary Care, Mental Health and Disability, Kathleen Lynch TD

Martin Naughton, one of the campaign leaders and Director of Áiseanna Tacaíochta (ÁT), thanked An Taoiseach and the Minister for taking the time to meet with them, but said that there was frustration amongst the group of disability activists at their lack of understanding and appreciation of the need to move towards systems and policies that allow people to live independently in their own homes and communities.

He said that the focus of the conversation remained within the realm of “the same old models that haven’t and don’t work.”

“There didn’t seem to be much vision around the rights and preferences, contributions and potential of people with disabilities in a modern society,” he said.

“If the Government continues to go down the route of refurbishing and building home care and residential settings, as they have announced, they will have to put people into those homes.  We need to get away from this model of incarceration and move towards a system of self-directed living supports and Direct Payments.  Sadly, we didn’t leave Government Buildings last night with a sense that this had been appreciated or taken on board seriously.”

He said that, after over two full days of campaigning, the disability activists had become stronger in their resolve to make disability a key issue in the next election.  He said that public support and media support had been overwhelmingly encouraging.

The group will be holding a major planning meeting in early October and will be using social media to ask the Irish public to “lend us your vote to change the lives of people with disabilities and their families for once and for all.”

The outdoor campaign will finish up after the press conference.