Achieving a Right to Personal Assistance Report

Independent Living Movement Ireland (ILMI) launched Achieving a Right to Personal Assistance in Ireland in the Oireachtas today.

The report will be officially launched by Minister of State for Disability Issues Finian McGrath TD at a discussion chaired by Senator Colette Kelleher. The research was carried out by the Centre for Disability Law and Policy (CDLP) of National University of Ireland, Galway, and shows that introducing stand-alone legislation is the most straight-forward way to recognise the right to personal assistance for disabled people. The comparative research conducted for this report shows that legislation will need to focus on the full and active participation of disabled people in society (including in education and employment), which are based on a comprehensive assessment of the individual’s needs to determine the amount of personal assistance an individual will receive.

“Independent Living is about having the freedom to have the same choices that everyone else has in housing, transportation, education and employment. Independent living is about choosing what aspects of social, economic and political life people want to participate in. Independent living is about having control over your life, to have a family, to get a job, to participate socially and to realise your goals and dreams. For many disabled people, Independent Living can best be achieved by the employment of Personal Assistants to provide supports where needed,” said Shelly Gaynor, Chairperson of ILMI.

“Ireland formally ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) last year and under Article 19 of the CRPD disabled people have the right to live in the community and have access to a range of in-home and other supports, including personal assistance, to support this. Ireland needs legislation to guarantee a right to personal assistance for disabled people in order that we can live our lives the way that we want, with the same options and freedoms that non-disabled people take for granted, by the employment of Personal Assistants to provide supports where needed,” added Ms Gaynor.

“Disabled people throughout Ireland have actively lobbied their TDs and Senators to get them to be at the launch as this is a core issue for so many people across the country. Not having a legal right to a Personal Assistance Service often means that many disabled people are not accessing something that would allow them to live independent lives, or that they receive such a limited level of support which fails to meet their needs to live active, participative lives and live as equals. The Personal Assistance Service needs to be seen as a basic human right for the disabled people that need it, and we are here today to build support within the Oireachtas for legislation to be introduced to guarantee that right in order that disabled people can fully participate in Irish society as equals” said Damien Walshe, ILMI CEO.

The full report as well as an executive summary can be downloaded from ILMI’s Key Policy Documents page.