3 December is International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD), and has been recognised as such since 1992. It is a day that aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities as well as increase the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life. But while it is a day for celebrating the progress made towards realising an inclusive society for all, it is also hugely important to acknowledge all the work that still needs to be done to achieve true equality for all members of our society.
People with disabilities are at a much higher risk of poverty, social exclusion and ultimately homelessness in Ireland. As it stands Ireland ranks nearly 80% below the average support that those with disabilities receive in other European countries. This is not only a matter of direct income. Most other EU countries provide a range of community and household supports that improve living standards: accommodation, assistance in carrying out daily tasks, goods and services relating to rehabilitation and other supports which Eurostat defines as: ‘ . . . enabling people to participate in leisure and cultural activities or to travel or to participate in community life.’
Unite argues that we need to mobilise investment to give people the support they need – in the community and in the workplace. No one should be denied the fullest participation possible in society, nor should anyone be forced into the deprivation experienced by many people with disabilities.
Events for the day
Áiseanna Tacaíochta is holding it annual event on the 3rd, Realising Equality through Active Participation, at the Davenport Hotel in Merrion Square from 9.30pm to 4.30pm. They will examine the evolution and lived experience of Independent Living and Direct Payments for people with disabilities in Ireland, and the ways in which society can come together in solidarity to promote equality and active citizenship for all. Registration is open for this event, just visit the Eventbrite registration page by clicking here. Lunch and refreshments will be served on the day.
Inclusion Ireland and Down Syndrome Ireland will mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities by hosting the Blue Teapot production of ‘Sanctuary’ at Dublin’s Liberty Hall Theatre. ‘Sanctuary’, which was written by Christian O’Reilly, highlights a little-known law which impacts on the lives of unmarried persons with an intellectual disability and seeks to prevent them from having healthy, intimate relationships. There will be two shows on Wednesday, December 3rd, a matinee show at 12.00pm and an evening show at 8.00pm. Find out more here and to book tickets click here.