Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has said that the government must listen to people with disabilities and bin the Green Paper on disability payment reforms.

Teachta Crowe added that the consultation process demonstrated the government’s lack of respect, and that the voices of people with disabilities must be heard.

Teachta Crowe said:

“The government must listen to people with disabilities and bin the Green Paper.

“The proposals the Government have brought forward have caused huge concern that they will follow the Tory model in Britain where people are forced into work that is unsuitable and people with disabilities face sanction.

“The consultation process was poor throughout and demonstrated once again a lack of respect for people with disabilities.

“While the current system of disability payments is not fit for purpose and reform is badly needed, the proposals contained within the Green Paper are not the answer, they would further extend the existing problems.

“Low levels of employment and the very high extra cost of disability compound the need for urgent system-change to ensure people don’t fall further below the poverty line.

“But the current Green Paper proposals wrongfully conflate the cost of disability with employment and capacity to work.

“In many cases where people with disabilities are in employment it is often, due to educational barriers, in low paid jobs with little prospect of progression. Therefore, their ability to lift themselves out of poverty through employment alone is limited by the current system.

“The paper also assumes that the more severe the disability, the higher the cost to the individual, but the cost of disability can vary on many factors, not just severity of disability.

“Creating a link between the cost of disability and employment suggests that people with disabilities are not trying hard enough to find employment and plays into fears that these proposals are similar to Tory welfare reforms that are having a huge negative effect on people with disabilities in Britain.

“The message from people with disabilities is loud and clear. They want the government to listen to them, and they want the Green Paper binned.”