· Cruel cutting of transport allowances is an attack on the rights of those with disabilities
· Labour Party yet again putting bondholders ahead of the vulnerable groups
· Paul Murphy MEP calls for debate in European Parliament on impact of austerity on those with disabilities
Speaking following the decision by the Department of Health to end mobility allowances and the motorised transport grant, Paul Murphy MEP commented that the cuts to these allowances is an unconsidered and dangerous move, which will slash incomes and living standards. The allowances are crucial for people living with disabilities. Without these small allowances, which give them a chance at an independent life, many will not be able to continue. These allowances are not simply bonuses, or some extra money in pockets, but the funds which people with disabilities rely on to maintain their lives.
“The cutting of these allowances is an utterly cruel decision that will result in the cutting of the income of some of the most vulnerable in society by up to 20%. These allowances are vital for thousands of people with disabilities that rely on these modest payments to lead a fuller and independent life, this is a right not a luxury.
Kathleen Lynch, Minister of State, said that the state simply cannot afford to provide the allowances to the most vulnerable in society. She further claimed that it would be illegal to not make these cuts. But expansion of the base of these allowance
“Minister of State Kathleen Lynch on Morning Ireland this morning said when asked about providing transport to people with disabilities that ‘the country cannot afford it’. She has also claimed that it would be ‘illegal’ to do anything else, yet it is clear that the extension of the scheme to over-65s would have been entirely legal.
This claim that the state does not have the funds to pay for these allowances is false, and the fact that a Labour Party Minister has made this claim only further ads to the sting. This government had no qualms never claimed the state was unable to pay €26 billion from state funds to pay off unsecured bondholders and the toxic bank debt.
“The problem is for this government such a move is unthinkable. Yet this government and the Labour Party are more than happy to transfer €26 billion of taxpayers’ money to bondholders in national and bank debt this year. This graphically highlights the fact that they are putting the wealth of a tiny elite ahead of the rights of people with disabilities
People with disabilities have been some of the most hit hard by austerity, and one of the most vocal in their opposition. This was seen most recently with the struggle that was waged against cuts to home helps. they have been to the fore and in bringing opposition to austerity. Now that the government have stepped up their attacks and cuts, this struggle must be stepped up in turn. Political pressure must be brought against this government, hand in hand with the opposition to cuts and austerity.
“The struggle against cuts to home help hours has shown that people with disabilities have been to the forefront in opposing austerity. It is vital now that political pressure is brought to bear on this government and these cuts are vigorously opposed.
Paul Murphy recognizes this, and recognises that austerity offers no way out of this crisis working people, the unemployed, and people with disabilities. He is calling on the European Parliament to have a debate on the effects of austerity and how it is unduly affecting the lives of the most vulnerable. Hopefully this debate will be able to put pressure on the EU Commission and member states to reverse their decisions and cease to end this policy.
“People with disabilities are already suffering disproportionally from austerity policies, with high levels of unemployment and poverty. I have taken the initiative through an Oral Question from the Employment committee to call on the European Parliament to debate this issue in the upcoming plenary session. I hope that this debate will serve to highlight these issues and put political pressure on the Commission and Member States that are implementing these policies”