By Dan Walsh
Wexford County Council members have unanimously agreed on a Motion of Notice submitted by Cllr Mary Farrell supporting “a vision of an Ireland where we have freedom, choice and control over all aspects of our lives.” Wexford disability rights activist, Vivian Rath has commended local councillors for supporting the motion asking Government to legislate for the right to Personal Assistance Services (PAS) in Ireland.
Thousands of disabled people live independently thanks to PAS, however, that service can be removed at any time as unbelievably PAS in Ireland is still operating as a pilot project and not legislated for as a basic human right. Its provision is dependent upon funding and access to the service can be removed at any time.
Vivian, who is a member of the Independent Living Movement Ireland (ILMI) and a PhD student in Trinity College Dublin told WexfordLocal.com; “Independent living, which is underpinned by personal assistance services (PAS) is about having the freedom to have the same choices that everyone else has in life and by having that freedom we have a responsibility to live life to its fullest. It is about choosing what aspects of social, economic, political and community and spiritual life I want to participate in. It’s about taking responsibility for how I choose to live and grow in relationship to others. All of this and more is made possible by the support of PAS.”
Kilmuckridge-based Cllr Mary Farrell told Wexford Local.com; “Vivian has been a leading activist and advocate for People with Disabilities (PWD) for many years. He has an acute understanding of the challenges and barriers that PWD face daily. He has been their voice on many channels and mediums and never afraid to speak out and demand that the rights of PWD are heard and acted upon.
Cllr Farrell continued; “I worked in the disability sector for seventeen years and gained a valued insight into these challenges and I am passionate about ensuring and supporting the rights of PWD. I fully support and commend Vivian on his tireless efforts and dedicated work to ensure that PWD are afforded their basic human rights in every aspect of their lives. In this instance the legislation of the PAS to ensure that people can live fulfilling and independent lives based on their individual choices and needs”
“The Independent Living Movement Ireland (ILMI), which is a Disabled Persons Organisation (DPO) is calling on the Government to finally recognise all rights to live independent lives with the support of PAS.
Chairperson of ILMI, Desmond Kenny stated; “Vivian, through his work has this month seen Wexford County Council unanimously pass a Motion supporting that right. “Wexford Local Authority have supported our vision of an Ireland where we have freedom, choice and control over all aspects of our lives. This should not be underestimated. We thank Vivian and Cllr Mary Farrell for proposing the motion, and Wexford Local Authority for passing it”.
Mr. Kenny clarified that this is only a step in the campaign to finally having our human rights recognised. He told WexfordLocal.com; “This Motion passed in Dáil Eireann on November 19th, 2019, having been brought before government by Deputy Thomas Pringle. Since then numerous local authorities across Ireland have voted to support it. As such this reaffirms that PAS, which support us to live independent lives should finally be legislated for as a right. We will continue in our fight for that right to be formally recognised by pushing our PAS Now campaign over the coming months.”