Disabled More Likely To Face Poverty

People with disabilities are more likely to live in poverty and face exclusion, it has been revealed.

A new report on the social and living conditions of people with disabilities has shown that disability has multiple and reciprocal effects on people’s lifestyles.

Joan Burton, Minister for Social Protection, believes that the information gathered through the report will help make moves to alleviate the problems faced by the disabled.

The Minister launched the research report saying that disability cuts across education, social participation, employment and access to services.

800,000 people are affected by disability in Ireland, with a core group of 325,000 people reporting disability.

Minister Burton said: "Promoting social inclusion is imperative even at this critical stage in the economy and the public finances."

She has also called for a cultural shift in the attitudes of employers to hiring people with disability including the need for attention to job design.

Meanwhile Dorothy Watson, one of the authors of the report highlighted further policy challenges arising from the research.

She said that an increase in the prevalence of disability as the population ages is likely.

Ms Watson urges that the educational system should be challenged to enable children and young people with a disability to maximise their achievements

She also reiterated the need for attention to job design. According to Ms Watson flexible hours and modification of tasks are needed to enable participation of people with disability in work.

The scope for improvements in access to public venues and to medical and transport services was also discussed.

Ms Watson concluded: "This report brings together data from a range of sources to understand the circumstances of people with a disability. While it is clear that this is a very diverse group, they share many challenges in the areas of education, work and social participation.

"Policies to promote the social inclusion of people with a disability will need to be broadly-based, taking account of the physical, social, educational, labour market, income support and legal environments."


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