Motion to debate a Right to Personal Assistance is Hugely Significant

A Right to Personal Assistance is about equality, fairness and choice, not dependence or charity.

Tuesday 19th November the Dáíl will debate a motion put forward by Deputy Thomas Pringle TD on a right to a Personal Assistance Service for disabled people. This will be a huge step towards real inclusion and independent living for disabled people, based on rights and not charity. The motion can be viewed here:

“Independent Living is about having the freedom to have the same choices that everyone else has in housing, transportation, education and employment. Independent living is about choosing what aspects of social, economic and political life people want to participate in. Independent living is about having control over your life, to have a family, to get a job, to participate socially and to realise your goals and dreams. It is about equality, fairness and choice, not dependence or charity. For many disabled people, Independent Living can best be achieved by the employment of Personal Assistants to provide supports where needed,” said James Cawley, ILMI policy officer.

“The Personal Assistance Service (PAS) is a tool that allows us disabled people to live independently. The PAS enables us to do all the tasks that we cannot do for ourselves. It provides us with the freedom and flexibility we need to live our lives as we choose. A Personal Assistant (PA) is hired to assist us with a range of day-to-day tasks that we cannot physically do for ourselves. With a PAS we are in control and direct the PA to carry out tasks both inside and outside of the home, including personal care, domestic duties, assisting in day-to-day tasks such as shopping, support in the workplace or socialising. A PA does not ‘look after’ or ‘care for’ us disabled people. We delegate these tasks to our PAs and in doing so take back control of our lives” added Mr. Cawley.

“Today (Tuesday) is a “water-shed day” in the pursuit of rights for and by disabled people. We are tired of waiting for concessions and being fobbed off to charity providers for services that should exist on a statutory basis. A Personal assistance service is a withheld human right for which disabled people are tired of waiting. Give us this service and set disabled people free to fully participate in an inclusive society” said Mr. Kenny.

“For a Personal Assistance Service to be established as a “right” it must be given a home outside of and away from the HSE and Department of Health,” added ILMI Chairperson, Des Kenny.

In March 2018 Ireland formally ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Under Article 19 of the CRPD disabled people have the right to live in the community and have access to a range of in-home and other supports, including personal assistance, to support this.

Currently there is no legal right to personal assistance in Ireland. Those in need of this support often find the application process problematic, as there is no
standardised procedure and those in receipt of this support do not have any security regarding the continuation or extent of their service due to lack of legislative protection.

Since the summer of 2018, ILMI has been developing a campaign to invest, promote, define and legislate for a PAS called the #PASNOW campaign which we began with a consultation with ILMI members across the country and we are delighted that on the 19th November, deputy Thomas Pringle TD with the support of Tommy Broughan TD will bring a motion before the Dáil to support the right to a Personal Assistance Service.

Information for Editors:
Independent Living Movement Ireland (ILMI) was established in 1992 by and for people with disabilities with the main aim of ensuring that disabled people achieved Independent Living, choice and control over their lives and full participation in society as equal citizens.

We are a campaigning, national representative organisation that promotes the philosophy of independent living and to build an inclusive society. Central to the way we work is to ensure that policy decisions that impact on the lives of disabled people have to be directly influenced by those whose lives are directly affected.

Our philosophy can be summed up as: ‘Nothing about us without us!’ and ‘Rights Not Charity’.

Our Vision
Our vision is an Ireland where disabled persons have freedom, choice and control over all aspects of their lives and can fully participate in an inclusive society as equals

Mission
We are working collectively to create an independent living Movement in Ireland which is led by disabled people and promotes a rights-based social model of disability, challenging the unacceptable charity / medical model of disability. We are working towards the removal of societal barriers that prevent active equal participation of disabled people, challenging the denial of people’s rights and the promotion of the philosophy of independent living.

Core Values
Our core values are underpinned by the philosophy of Independent Living and all activities are aimed towards promoting:

  • Independence
  • Options
  • Rights
  • Empowerment
Our Principles
  • We promote the active participation of leaders in all aspects of the work of ILMI: locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
  • We are a DPO (disabled persons organisation) formed to ensure that the voice of disabled people will be heard in campaigns, research and policy development.
  • We recognise and promote equality within our members, in terms of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, age, marital status, socio-economic status and impairment.
  • We will actively promote an understanding of disability as an interaction between a person’s impairment and the societal and environmental barriers that disable people’s participation in society – and actively lobby to remove these barriers to participation and challenge the unacceptable medical / charity model of disability.
  • We are committed that ILMI continue to develop new innovative models to achieve equality of outcome, recognising that people have a variety of abilities, needs and wants.

Language
Independent Living Movement Ireland recognises that language is a very powerful and evocative tool. Therefore, the language and terminology used in this press release has been carefully chosen to reflect the values of equality and empowerment which at the core of this organisation. The term ‘disabled people’ has been used throughout the press release in accordance with the UPIAS classification of disability and impairment which has been developed by disabled people themselves (UPIAS 1976). Where disabled people are referred to in the website this should be understood to include all disabled people, including those with learning difficulties, mental health difficulties and sensory impairments.

Mission
We are working collectively to create an independent living Movement in Ireland which is led by disabled people and promotes a rights-based social model of disability, challenging the unacceptable charity / medical model of disability. We are working towards the removal of societal barriers that prevent active equal participation of disabled people, challenging the denial of people’s rights and the promotion of the philosophy of independent living.

Core Values
Our core values are underpinned by the philosophy of Independent Living and all activities are aimed towards promoting:

  • Independence
  • Options
  • Rights
  • Empowerment
Our Principles
  • We promote the active participation of leaders in all aspects of the work of ILMI: locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
  • We are a DPO (disabled persons organisation) formed to ensure that the voice of disabled people will be heard in campaigns, research and policy development.
  • We recognise and promote equality within our members, in terms of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, age, marital status, socio-economic status and impairment.
  • We will actively promote an understanding of disability as an interaction between a person’s impairment and the societal and environmental barriers that disable people’s participation in society – and actively lobby to remove these barriers to participation and challenge the unacceptable medical / charity model of disability.
  • We are committed that ILMI continue to develop new innovative models to achieve equality of outcome, recognising that people have a variety of abilities, needs and wants.

Language
Independent Living Movement Ireland recognises that language is a very powerful and evocative tool. Therefore, the language and terminology used in this press release has been carefully chosen to reflect the values of equality and empowerment which at the core of this organisation. The term ‘disabled people’ has been used throughout the press release in accordance with the UPIAS classification of disability and impairment which has been developed by disabled people themselves (UPIAS 1976). Where disabled people are referred to in the website this should be understood to include all disabled people, including those with learning difficulties, mental health difficulties and sensory impairments.

ENDS

For more information, contact CEO Damien Walshe : emailcdamienwalshe@ilmi.ie