No funding for WALK PEER – Minister should resign: Adams

DSC_3254_6510Sinn Féin Louth Gerry Adams TD, today (Wednesday) raised the difficulties faced by citizens with disabilities and in particular the future of the Louth based WALK PEER project with the Taoiseach during Leaders Questions.

The Louth TD revealed that he had met with Minister McGrath on Tuesday to discuss funding for WALK PEER. Teachta Adams told the Dáil that “if Minister McGrath can’t find the funding he should resign.”

Gerry Adams also urged the Taoiseach to ensure that Budget 2017 is “fair to citizens with disabilities, their families and carers.  A person with a disability should have the same rights as everyone else.”

The text of the statement:

“The Programme for Government commits that ‘persons with disabilities should be supported to maximise their potential, by removing barriers which impact on access to services, education, work and healthcare’. 

“That’s the rhetoric. The reality is different. In 2011, the Taoiseach said disability services would not be cut, but then savagely cut these supports.

“In my own constituency of Louth and east Meath, the impact of those cuts is evident, particularly for the 5,000 citizens of Louth with an intellectual disability.  The WALK PEER project enables young people with a disability to access opportunities in mainstream education, training and employment within their communities.

“It was one of the fourteen Disability Activation Schemes jointly funded by the Department of Social Protection and the European Social Fund, until funding was withdrawn in a move that made no sense whatsoever.

“Only one project has survived – it is based in Louth. After intense lobbying by parents, carers and the young people it received temporary funding until Christmas.

“WALKPEER has undertaken fantastic work in fostering vital links between young citizens and employers, educators and the wider community. It is fully in line with the government’s strategy, as set out in the Disability Act 2004, the National Disability Strategy 2015-2020, the EPSEN Act and the ‘Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities’.

“WALKPEER would cost €300,000 annually, provided from across six Departments. It makes economic sense, especially in the context of the almost 600,000 people who are living with a disability in the State; over half of whom are of working age, and many of whom want a pathway to employment. The WALKPEER model provides that pathway.

“The ‘Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities’ has been on a shelf for ten years now without funding allocated to it. A committee was set up in October 2015 to examine the benefits and future of Disability Activation Schemes. Thus far, the committee hasn’t issued a report. This is hardly surprising. It has only met twice.

“One of the participants in WALKPEER – a young woman – has recently gained a place in college. A young man wants to be an usher here in Leinster House. A young woman who was suicidal is now training to be a make-up artist.

“These citizens and their families have the right to the modest support that is required. I met Minister Finian McGrath on this issue on Tuesday. I wish him well, but in my view, if he can’t get funding for this project he should resign from the government.

“This year’s budget is an opportunity to correct some of these injustices and the government should outline the steps it is going to take in this year’s budget to address the urgent need for real support for citizens with disabilities, their families and carers.”

 

Corrigan Welcomes Funding For Essential Works In Saltown

Cllr Edel CorriganCouncillor Edel Corrigan has today welcomed the news that funding has been approved to complete essential works in Saltown, Dundalk.

Speaking today, the Sinn Féin councillor said “Louth County Council applied for this funding in February under the Unfinished Housing Development Special Resolution Fund and I am delighted that it has been approved. We should see parts of the Estate resurfaced and essential works carried out.”

“These one-time dream homes that in the past were in high demand have now turned into victims of the building boom bust where residents have had to suffer due to poor planning and development and sections of the unfinished phases of the development.”

Edel Corrigan acknowledged that “the residents have worked hard together to improve the area and to have the bonds released to have the development finished. Hopefully this funding will go some way to achieving that. Works should be completed by the end of November.”

The Dundalk/Carlingford Councillor said “everyone has the right to live in a decent, clean and peaceful environment. These people have been left in a building site so I am delighted that this money is coming and warmly welcome it.”

 

Corrigan Proposes Motion Of No Confidence In Government Directive

waCllr Edel Corrigan has today called for a special meeting of Louth County
Council to tackle the issue of the announced closure of the Women’s Aid Refuge
in Dundalk.

Cllr Corrigan is calling for a meeting under Section 5 of
Standing Orders and has submitted her petition today, which had joint support from a number of other county Councillors, to propose of the following
motion:

“That Louth County Council have no confidence in the directive from the government which has led to the reduction of funding and the forced closure of Dundalk Women’s Aid refuge. That Louth County Council Petition National Government to provide additional funding for the provision of services at Women’s Aid refuge Dundalk with immediate effect.”

Commenting on the proposed closure, Edel Corrigan said “It is tragic to think that such a vital service like the Women’s Aid Refuge will be removed from Dundalk. I am dumbfounded by the recklessness and disregard the government have for the needs of the people they claim to represent. It takes a lot for someone in an abusive situation to remove themselves from such a dangerous environment and now these women will have nowhere to turn to.”

Councillor Corrigan continued, “Housing policies already work against those who leave the family home. Criteria for being accepted to the local authority housing list exempt you if you have a financial interest in the property. The facilities at the Women’s Aid Refuge are second to none. What are these women and children expected to do now? It’s bad enough that such a high demand for these services and lack of funding has
previously led to hundreds women and children being turned away from the Women’s Aid refuge in Dundalk as there are no resources to accommodate them.”

Corrigan concluded “we need to be preventing Domestic Violence by educating people of its effects and supporting those who need help to get out of harmful situations, not abandoning them when they are most in need of support.”