McAleese In Plea For Disabled

President Mary McAleese today insisted Ireland must reject the arrogance of those who restrict the lives of disabled people.

She told the Independent Living conference in Dublin’s Croke Park that disability campaigners must continue their battle against “lazy old thinking” in the country.

Organisers of the major talks accused the Government of failing to live up to a United Nations treaty on the rights of the disabled.

And Ireland’s 26 Centres for Independent Living joined forces to call on the new Government to urgently implement the National Disability Strategy.

“What awful arrogance to dare impose restrictions on the life chances of another human being and what a waste of talents and skills it can lead to – for the individual, for his or her family and for all of us as a community,” President McAleese said, opening the two-day symposium.

“There can be no quiet acceptance of that arrogance and no putting up with the obstacle course it has created over many generations of skewed thinking about disability.

“That is why this conference is so important, because the road to freedom from that obstacle course is only partly travelled and we need to keep asking ourselves what more needs to be done to open up that road, to make it straight, to make it the best motorway to the future.”