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Wednesday 24 Jan 2018
You are here: Home Blog Articles Where is our government’s social, moral and human conscience?
Where is our government’s social, moral and human conscience? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Avril   
Saturday, 08 December 2012

My outrage and anger continues this week with the announcement by our government in their annual budget to cut the respite care grant for carers by 20%. As a carer of my son Stephen who has autism, I cannot accept the choices our government is taking. Where is their social, moral and human conscience?

Following from my blog last week and discussions in our Dail chambers where our Taoiseach talks about protecting the disability sector – we need to ask who is he protecting? Yes there is €1.4 billion going into this sector but not to people with disabilities and their families. We need to make the distinction. The recent Value for Money report published by government shows the ‘bad’ value for money that the taxpayers of Ireland are getting for this €1.4 billion. But this is not just about money - is there any commitment in our government and policy makers to change or are we going to keep ‘protecting’ the old expensive system that does NOT deliver value for money?

For all the talk of reform by our Minister responsible for disability services, Minister Kathleen Lynch and the move to an individualised/personalised budgeting system where the person with a disability and their family have influence over where the €1.4 billion goes, it seems she is not willing to ‘walk the talk’ or put pressure on the sector to give us a voice. She is too busy ‘protecting’ them. The respite care grant is one of the few payments that is made directly to the carer/family so they can choose what is best for their family/family member. So instead of protecting and increasing this payment, they actually choose to slash it.

I suppose it links into the attitude of our government which we can see in the language they use. They don’t really believe we are equal citizens, with equal voice and equal vote and that is why they think they will get away with further cuts and reductions.

Listening to the carers who demonstrated outside the Dail in Dublin, in Ennis and other places this week, I was inspired by their stories of generosity, love and human spirit. People who give every hour of every day to a loved one. But we have had enough, the Irish government needs to change their attitude and reverse the decisions taken last week.


About Me

I’m Avril, married to Robert and I’m Mum to 3 kids, Stephen, Michael and Rachel. Stephen has special needs (he has a rare chromosomal disorder). We can see he has lots in common with children on the autistic spectrum and children with down syndrome. As well being a Mum, I’m an advocate/lobbyist for those with disabilities. I feel strongly about the importance of including Stephen is as many everyday activities and I have created the Off We Go! series of books to help Stephen and kids like him manage with everyday events.