Centre for Disability Law and Policy,
Institute for Lifecourse and Society,
Dangan, North Campus
6th December 2019
FAO: Minister Charlie Flanagan
CC: Minister Finian McGrath
RE: Letter of support NPSA
The Centre for Disability Law & Policy at NUI Galway is writing to you in relation to the recently announced closure of the National Platform of Self Advocates. We request that you consider making available secure and sustainable funding for the Platform to avoid their closure. The Platform have exhausted all available forms of funding while retaining their unique structure of being run by, and for, persons with intellectual disabilities. Existing funding streams available to other civil society organisations would force the Platform to relinquish control to non-disabled persons. This is contrary to the ethos of the Platform and to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
During the Centre’s work with the Platform for the past 6 years, the staff and students have been consistently impressed by the achievements, work ethic and dedication to social change of the members of the steering committee. As the Platform is the only organisation nationwide which is run and controlled directly by people with intellectual disabilities, we believe it is essential for this group to be supported with public funding to advance its mission and enhance its future sustainability.
The Platform has become increasingly recognised as the representative organisation of people with intellectual disabilities in Ireland, with regional and local outreach activities and a growing membership base (current membership is circa 300). Members of its steering committee have been included on the Disability Advisory Committee to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, the Consultative and Strategy groups of the Taskforce on Personalised Budgets, and have been actively involved in law reform, including in the development of Katherine Zappone’s Private Members Bill on sexual relationships in 2014.
In light of Ireland’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the State must support the development of disabled people’s organisations – organisations run and controlled directly by persons with disabilities themselves. The Platform is an excellent example of such an organisation. Similar organisations, such as People First (UK), Me Itse (Finland) and Nous Aussi (France), all receive public funding. As the Department of Justice is the body responsible for human rights and equality adherence in Ireland, I strongly urge you to consider the Platform’s request for financial support.
The Platform’s previous success in securing philanthropic funding demonstrates that it has the appropriate systems in place to ensure accountability and management of funds. It has also made impressive strides in its first five years of operation – and will continue to go from strength to strength if it secures public funding to continue its work. If you have any further questions about the Centre’s involvement and support of the Platform’s activities, please do not hesitate to contact me at the address or telephone numbers below.
Staff and Students
Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway
091 494 009, firstname.lastname@example.org