It is with anger and sadness that Disabled Women Ireland learned of the imminent closure of the National Platform of Self Advocates. It is entirely unacceptable that a state which spends a significant amount on “disability issues” fails to find and adapt funding for the sole organisation which is led by people with intellectual disabilities themselves.
From our own perspective, the Platform were one of the first organisations to reach out to us when we started. We are grateful for their solidarity, and we will support them always. We were to look at meeting to discuss our work once the pressing issue of their funding was sorted out. We have been in operation for nearly two years, and the Platform have been diligently working towards securing funding since. They should have been able to focus on their advocacy work in that time.
As a disabled persons organisation, we understand and appreciate the importance of self-advocacy. As disabled people, we have faced parents groups, medical staff and service providers speaking for us. As disabled women, trans and non-binary people we have experienced cis disabled men speaking for us. We know there is no replacement for advocating for yourself. People with intellectual disabilities have been spoken over for decades – and the platform have become a powerful voice in advocating for themselves and their peers.
In the event the platform are left to drown, without the promised life ring,
It will be difficult to avoid the perception that Ireland is hostile towards DPOs in the event that the National Platform is let cease to exist, and a poor reflection on our elected representatives that they fail to understand the importance of maintaining DPOs.
Disabled people are more than a photo opportunity on December 3rd or election time. Disability Rights can’t be realised if our voices aren’t heard.
Disabled Women Ireland