Irish Republican News · July 8, 2010
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Coalition targets the weakest

As 26-County Ministers gave themselves three months vacation this week, thousands marched in protest against new cuts to services for disabled people and carers.

A passionate and vocal crowd of about two thousand took part in a demonstration in Dublin, while about a thousand took part in a demonstration in Galway and another protest took place in Castlebar, County Mayo.

Their has been shock and bewilderment at the cuts, which have targeted care services for the most vulnerable members of Irish society, even as billions of euro continue to be pumped into the banking and property sectors.

Led by intellectual disabilities association ‘Inclusion Ireland’, protestors walked from the Garden of Remembrance on Parnell Square in Dublin to the Dail to express their concern.

Outside the Dail the crowd was addressed by Frieda Finlay, chairwoman of Inclusion Ireland, who said people with intellectual disabilities and their families wanted to “stand up against the dreadful effect the cuts are having on services”.

“People with intellectual disabilities are frightened and worried because they do not know what is going to happen to them. Some are even losing their homes.” Ms Finlay also called for greater media coverage of the issues.

Sinn Fein Dail leader and Health and Children spokesperson Caoimhghin O Caolain, said that Taoiseach Brian Cowen was “in denial” on the reality of cuts to services for disabled people and carers.

“Both yesterday and today in the Dail the Taoiseach Brian Cowen has been in denial on the reality of the impact of cuts to services for disabled people and their carers and families,” he said.

“He has claimed that ‘no decision’ was made to impose the cuts. But these cuts are a reality. Respite and day care has been cut. Staff providing front-line care have been cut. Disabled people, carers, families have been effected.

“The Taoiseach has spoken of a need to reorganise services. What is the nature of the re-organisation the Taoiseach is talking about? Where are the plans and proposals? What guarantees have disabled people and their families that services will be restored?

“We are told meetings are now to take place between Ministers and service providers. These meetings would not be taking place at all but for the protests by disabled people and their carers. Clearly the Government, was prepared to hide behind the HSE while the HSE wielded the axe. They have had to be flushed out by public protest.

“The Taoiseach and the Fianna Fail/Green Government must listen to the voice of people protesting today and reverse these savage cutbacks.”

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© 2010 Irish Republican News