MICHAEL ODOWD: Disability Employment Goals Should Be Linked to Financial Support
Aontú Rep for Louth, Michael O’Dowd, has called on the Government to link financial support for the Public and Civil Service to their achievement in reaching disability employment goals.
The suggestion was made in a submission by Aontú to the government on the UN Draft Initial Report under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Aontú’s Michael O’Dowd stated that the carrot approach of expecting organisations to reach employment goals for people with a disability has clearly failed. Some public bodies have met their statutory responsibilities but for those who do not there must be some financial
penalty. If we are to reach a target of 6% by 2024 then words and sentiments must translate to action and commitment. Also, we need to see people with disabilities employed at every level in the public sector.
Simply setting targets for employment of persons with disabilities is not enough. If there is no incentive to meet these targets or cost to ignoring these targets, the targets will never be met. These targets will be considerations at best, whereas disability employment targets need to be requirements. What better way than to link these targets to financial supports? It is a simple, beneficial measure which will compel action, and punish inaction.
Among the other suggestions Aontú made were:
- The elimination of the practice that takes place is where some children with disabilities are not allowed to have a full school day because of their disability as it clearly breaches Article 24 of the Convention.
- The immediate signing of the Optional Protocol that allows people or groups, who believe their rights have been violated under the convention, to take a case to the UN.
- The Building Regulations Regulations 2010 should be reviewed to include wheelchair accessible housing and an education and awareness programme should be put in place to promote understanding of the concept among developers, planners and builders.
- 7% of every social housing development funded by the Government should be designed to be wheelchair accessible.
- Immediate implementation the Pilot phase of Personalised Budgets