Leaflet on Disability and Care

Ireland – the worst country in Europe to be disabled

Living with a disability costs an additional  €8-12,000 a year, 1 in 2 disabled people are living in deprivation

Disabled people are:

  • twice as likely to be homeless or leave school early 
  • more likely to be unemployed or underemployed
  • at higher risk of abuse and intimate partner violence
  • 20,000 children are waiting for “assessment of need”

After the referendum, ratchet up the pressure for disability rights! 

Disability activists and carers powerfully used the recent referendums to expose their callous treatment at the hands of the Irish state. A grassroots movement emerged demanding rights and rejecting the neo-liberal version of care in the proposed wording. This outcome was a huge blow to the Government, exposing how vastly out of touch they are. Leo Varadkar, who said “I don’t actually think that’s the State’s responsibility”, resigned two weeks after.

Scrap the Thatcherite Green Paper

The government’s ‘Green Paper on Disability Reform’’ proposes a tiering of people with disabilities. The purpose is to force disabled people off state payments and into unsuitable work. This would cause immeasurable stress, anxiety, depression – suicide among disabled people has rocketed in Britain after a similiar model was adopted.

Fine Gael, Fianna Fail & Green Party continue systemic ableism 

The current system traumatises and dehumanises disabled people and carers by forcing them to constantly prove their disability via continuous reassessments, means testing and arduous applications. It is a battle to access the most basic rights. There is a long history of systemic marginalisation of disabled people by the state and this government continues that legacy. 

Roderic O’Gorman, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, must act now!

We demand:

  • Scrap the “Green Paper” and state ableism
  • A universal payment for all disabled people and carers – autonomy and financial independence is a right! 
  • End continuous assessments for disabled and chronically ill people
  • Ratify the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities
  • Disability discrimination and living with chronic illness are even worse for people from the traveller community or minority ethnic backgrounds
  • Make transport and public spaces accessible 
  • Guaranteed access to education at all levels. 
  • An appropriate school place for every child. 
  • In Dublin 15, Danu special school has no places for the next three years; 111 children are ‘struggling in mainstream’ without consistent support.
  •  Publicly funded “gold standard” child and eldercare in our communities 

There is a budget surplus of €10 billion, yet we have an unprecedented care crisis; crumbling health and education; spiralling cost of living; unaffordable housing and childcare; refugees and asylum seekers abandoned in tents on the streets. 

Capitalism makes ‘care and caring a commodity’ 

Oxfam reports that unpaid care work saves the global economy $11 trillion a year. Capitalism in its ruthless pursuit of profit makes ‘care and caring’ a commodity. Quality care is a luxury available for those who can pay, and care workers, mostly women in our homes, schools, creches and hospitals are exploited, underpaid or unpaid. 

The wealth, technology and resources exist to develop a care system based on human need. Socialists stand for a complete transformation of the care system, an end to capitalism and all of the inequality, injustice and oppression that comes with it. 

We need active campaigns of young people, people of colour, LGBTQI+folk, fighters for disability justice, trade unionists and working-class communities to build a socialist challenge that can deliver the type of care we need and deserve. 

Taoiseach Simon Harris – a step in the wrong direction

In 2017 Simon Harris, as Minister for Health, promised children with scoliosis and spina bifida  they would wait no longer than four months for surgery. Today 327 children deteriorate on waiting lists, more than ever. In Temple St, a surgeon has been suspended and dozens of botched surgeries are under investigation. Heartbreakingly, at least one child has died. 

Yes to No – a necessary switch 

During the campaign, Ruth Coppinger and Mick Barry TD of the Socialist Party switched to a Yes / No position after listening to the real concerns raised by disabled people about how the Care Referendum could negatively affect them. 


Click here to read our recent leaflet on disability