The National Platform of Self Advocates held a pre-budget meeting with our members on Monday 9th July 2018 in the Academy Plaza Hotel, Dublin. This meeting is part of our research and consultation with Minister Finian McGrath’s office. Minister McGrath said that he believes in the work of  National Platform and is looking forward to working further with the organisation.
The meeting was attended by 47 self-advocates and 23 supporters.
Steering committee members of the National Platform of Self Advocates facilitated discussions by self-advocates. Note takers recorded what people said.

The following 5 questions were given to guide the discussions:
Question 1 – What’s important to us?
Question 2 – What’s stopping us from living an ordinary life?
Question 3 – What support do we need?
Question 4 – What can be improved?
Question 5 – How should the government spend our money?

Minister Finian McGrath spent some time listening to the discussion at each table.
This is the feedback from the self-advocates.

The rest of this post is a summary of the report. You can also read the Pre-Budget Meeting – Full Report.

What is important to us in the next budget?

1. Nothing about us without us: We need to have our voices heard. We need an independent group to advocate for our rights. The National Platform of Self Advocates does this work well. We want the Platform to be able to expand its work to local areas.
We want the government to fund the National Platform of Self Advocates for the next 5 years.

2. Housing: Some of us are waiting for years for houses that our service providers promised us. Some of us moved up the housing lists but no accessible houses were available. Some of us have to move out because our houses need to be adapted.
All new houses should be built as accessible houses.

3. Transport: Lack of transport means we are isolated. It is a very big problem in rural areas. We rely on family and services and can’t have an independent life without them. Taxis are too expensive.
There needs to be more spending on rural transport.
Intercity bus routes need to be made accessible.
We want a voucher scheme for taxis.

4. Employment: People with disabilities find it very hard to get paid work. When we get jobs, we are often paid less than the minimum wage. Non-disabled workers are often given hours ahead of us.
We want job training that gives us a job afterwards.
We want more job coaches.
We want to be able to work more hours for more money and to keep our Disability Allowance and medical card.

5. Education: There aren’t enough education opportunities for people with disabilities when we leave school. The training that we do doesn’t lead to jobs. Sometimes we do training courses because there is nothing else to do.
We want places on ordinary apprenticeship schemes.
We want support to go to ordinary colleges and universities.
We want SNAs for further/third level education.

6. Personalised budgets: We want to have control over the supports we get. We want to have real choice in the supports on offer. We want lots of training to understand how personalised budgets will work.
We want training in budgeting.
We want access to trained independent brokers.
We want examples of real choices.

7. Technology: New technology and the internet can help us be less isolated.
We want support to have internet access in our homes.

Pre-Budget Meeting – Full Report.

Some photographs from the meeting.

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