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DISABILITY – A HUMAN RIGHTS PERSPECTIVE

Added: Thursday, March 30, 2017

A century after proclaiming that independent Ireland would give “equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens”, Irish people with disabilities enjoy fewer legal protections than their British counterparts

Today in Ireland there are at least 3,000 people with disabilities living in institutions, with a further 1,100 under the age of 65 inappropriately placed in nursing homes. Census data shows that Irish people with disabilities have significantly poorer educational outcomes and job opportunities, and are far more likely to experience poverty than their non-disabled peers.Ordinary things like choosing what time to get up, what to have for breakfast, and whatto wear are denied to many – as is accessing public transport, socialising, marrying, having a family, and other norms of life. Basic challenges arise;for example, if you are a wheelchair user, you have to give at least 24 hours’ notice to Iarnód Éireann should you wish to use the DART.

Social model
Although it is beginning to shift perspective, the state unfortunately continues to view disability very much from a medical stance – in other words, that disability is intrinsic to the individual. Internationally, the past 50 years has seen a move away from this medical model towards a social model of disability. The social model views the inability of a person to participate in society not as limitations within the person themselves, but rather as barriers that can be removed by society: remove the barriers, and people with disabilities can live on an equal basis with their non-disabled peers.

Article written by Gary Lee.

GARY LEE IS A MEMBER OF THE LAW SOCIETY’S HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE


Read Gary Lee's full Article

http://www.gcil.ie/uploadedfiles/LSGI_March_2017_pp28-31_(2).pd
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