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Wed., Nov 20, 2019
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Sligo County Council's Disability, Inclusion and Access Strategy 2019-2022

Sligo County Council's Disability, Inclusion and Access Strategy 2019-2022

Sligo County Council’s Disability, Inclusion and Access Strategy 2019-2022 was launched in Sligo County Hall on Thursday.  The launch was attended by the Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council, Councillor Martin Baker, Chair of the Disability Consultative Committee, Councillor Declan Bree, and Susan Carton, Lecturer and Programme Director St Angela’s College.
The development of the plan was a thorough and inclusive process, and this was shown in the scope and quality of the submissions received which form an integral part of the strategy.  The local authority has a responsibility to provide the resources required to ensure the targets are delivered and people with disabilities are supported and encouraged to realise their full potential While the general public are supportive of this agenda, they need a  formal structure and a clear roadmap to guide their endeavour and this  is the true value of this document.’
Susan Carton, Lecturer and Programme Director St Angela’s College, said
‘The social model of disability redefines disabled people’s position and status, by framing the causes of disability in social terms rather than viewing the person’s impairment as the problem: it refers to the ways in which the physical, cultural and social environments exclude or disadvantage disabled people.  In this way, disabled people tell us they have been able to express their situation in terms of human rights, and as an issue of equality, aligning themselves with other oppressed groups.
It’s not my place to speak about the lived experience of disability that is the preserve of disabled people themselves.  If we want to know anything about being disabled, we must speak with a disabled person, who identifies as being disabled.  However, for non-disabled people, particularly those of us working in the ‘sector’, the social model also has the ability to be utterly transformative.  This is because, like no other model, it facilitates us to reflect deeply on how we perceive and respond to disability.  This should be the starting point - our values and beliefs create the context for our thoughts and our thoughts lead to our actions.

Whatever way we look at it, what we have been doing up to now has not worked well for most disabled people.  The statistics bear this out, lower levels of education and employment and higher levels of poverty are outlined in the report produced by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the ESRI six months ago.  This report details the continuing discrimination against disabled people and this, 23 years after the Strategy for Equality produced 402 recommendations to address the status of disabled people in Ireland.

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