"TV Presenter's Remark about Wheelchair Users Unacceptable" - Ógra Aontú
Ógra Aontú has condemned a remark made by RTE's Kathryn Thomas after she implied in a Newstalk interview last week that life may not be worth living for people in wheelchairs.
Speaking today, Ógra Aontú spokesperson Lucas Meehan said: "The remark made by Ms Thomas on Newstalk last week was hurtful to people with disabilities. Ógra Aontú believes that all life is equal and that nobody should ever be made to feel that their life is of less value, or not worth living. To hear someone say "do you want to live to a hundred if you're sitting in a wheelchair" on live radio, was outrageous".
Lucas continued: "People with disabilities contribute enormously to our society. Unfortunately they are not supported nearly enough by our government. Rather than suggesting they'd be better off dead, celebrities and TV personalities should use their platforms to campaign for better access - on college campuses for example, or for more support in the form of respite centres, carers allowance, day services, and so on"
"We still have a long way to go to assist people with disabilities and their families in this country, in terms of our laws, public services and welfare supports, but also in terms of our societal attitudes. While Ireland has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, there remain elements of the optional protocol accompanying that convention which have not been ratified. The optional protocol would permit people with disabilities to make complaints against Ireland to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Irish government is preventing this. Ógra Aontú believe this needs to be ratified ASAP. People should not use inflammatory, derogatory or ageist language when speaking in the media. Disability Rights are Human Rights!" concluded Lucas.