Dear Minister Flanagan,
I am writing to you with dismay at the news that the National Platform of Self Advocates is to close after almost 9 years due to a lack of funding.
The Platform has been a critical voice for people with intellectual disabilities in Ireland, a group who are the most marginalised in our society. There is no other organisation in Ireland that is run by people with intellectual disabilities.
The Platform represent an independent voice, free from any vested interests other than the pursuit of their own human rights.
When Ireland ratified the UNCRPD in 2018, it was supposed to represent a watershed for disability rights. Instead we have seen the erosion of advocacy, the cornerstone of accessing rights. The lack of support for advocacy & in particular self-advocacy is bewildering.
At the time of ratification, the Irish Human Rights & Equality Commissioner, Emily Logan said “The UN Convention ratification represents a step-change in approach to one based on independence, dignity and self-advocacy for persons with disabilities.”
Rather than a step change, we are making a step back.
Minister, I would urge you to meet with Brian Hayes & his Platform colleagues to rescue this crucial organisation and to provide it some security.
Their voices must not be lost at a crucial time for people with a disability in Ireland.