Activists call for support on Disability Justice motion ahead of Dáil debate

The calls came a day before a motion co-written by Irish disability rights activists is set to be discussed in the Dáil.

Activists from Irish disability rights groups posing for a photo while holding signs that read 'disability justice now' and 'don't ignore disabled people power'.
Image: Via X - @RuthCoppingerSP

During a press conference held on Tuesday, April 16, activists from several disability groups called for universal payments to disabled people and carers, as well as further action from the Irish government to ensure the rights of disabled people in Ireland are protected.

The press conference came as a motion on Disability Justice tabled by People Before Profit TD Mick Barry is set to be debated in the Dáil on Wednesday morning, April 17.

Written in conjunction with disability rights activists, the motion includes calls for universal payments for disabled people and carers and urges the Irish government to ratify the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Optional Protocol establishes an individual complaints mechanism for violations of the Convention, giving more agency to disabled people to fight for the protection of their rights.

Activists at the press conference reiterated the demands set out in the motion, calling for an end to the injustice of means testing for disability payments, which increases disabled people’s dependence. They also urged Taoiseach Simon Harris and Minister Roderic O’Gorman to support the motion tabled by TD Mick Barry.

Speakers at the conference included mental health activist Blezzing Dada, who talked about racial biases in the medical system and the struggle of being forced to work while sick and disabled; and Kayleigh McKevitt from Access for All, who discussed the difficulties in relying on personal assistance (PA) and care teams and having to justify the need for support. Others who spoke at the conference were Áine O’Hara from Chronic Collective, Stephen Morrison from the Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Paediatric advocacy group and Cír Doyle from Neuro Pride Ireland and the Scrap the Green Paper coalition.


The press conference came after Ireland’s Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys announced that the government will not implement the Green Paper proposals for disability payments. If implemented, the Green Paper would have required roughly 84% of recipients to engage with untrained Intreo (the Irish public employment service) staff to keep basic disability supports.

Several disability rights organisations united their collective efforts to fight the ableist proposals by coming together in the Scrap the Green Paper coalition, formed in October 2023. The coalition fought extensively before succeeding in having the Green Paper proposals completely scrapped, news that was celebrated as a victory by all the organisations involved in the campaign.

Expressing their intention to continue fighting for the rights of disabled people in Ireland, the Scrap the Green Paper coalition has organised a rally outside of Leinster House tomorrow, Wednesday, at the same time as the Dáil debate on the motion.

The coalition is calling on anyone who wishes to support the disabled community to join them at 11am. Speakers will address the crowd to explain what is next on the agenda for disability activism now that the Green Paper proposals have been successfully scrapped.


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