I am dismayed to learn that the National Platform of Self-Advocates have been forced to announce they are ceasing operations from January due to an absence of funding and support for their work.
I have been involved with advocacy groups since the 1980’s and with one of the first groups to be established in 1982 when as a manager of community services I had to bring in a mediator to negotiate between individuals with Intellectual Disability and staff working in group homes for people to choose the time they wished to go to bed at! An example of the rigid structures that were in place at the time in so called modern day ‘community’ services.
The establishment of this platform in 2011 was long overdue and the members have worked tirelessly since then as members of government Taskforce groups, the Disability Advisory Committee that is monitoring the implementation of the UNCRPD, undertaking research into the lives of people with intellectual disabilities in Ireland and advocating for so many whose voice may not be heard otherwise.
People with intellectual disabilities lifestyles and preferences are overshadowed continuously by bureaucracy, funding matters, service providers and their exclusion from everyday matters. The platform was an opportunity to make a significant contribution and to ‘have a voice’.
I know many of the members of the platform and admire their selfless service to bring positive change in the lives of others. They do so without a salary with the support of one facilitator.
Ireland has now ratified the UN convention, it has yet to be implemented. How can we now take away peoples voice?
I urge you to take immediate action to rectify this.