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 I'm Bloody Disgusted - No Facilities For The Disabled

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PostSubject: I'm Bloody Disgusted - No Facilities For The Disabled   Sun Oct 26, 2008 2:59 pm

My best friend is going in for an operation this coming Wednesday. It's a fairly serious one.

He's in a wheelchair. Though in fairness, when I talk about him, I never think to point to his disability. He's one of those folks, one encounters now and then, who achieves everything he sets out to achieve.

Anyway, because I'd a few things to do this weekend that I couldn't get out of doing, we'd decided that he'd come to Dublin and book into a hotel and that we'd go and drink the town dry (bit of wishful thinking - neither of us are great drinkers). Unfortunately, he couldn't stay with me as I'm in rented accomodation and whilst he might get in, he'd not be able to use the bathroom etc. So a hotel it was.

No problem eh - the capital city with tons of hotels that say they're wheelchair friendly, wheelchair accessible etc. Complete load of bollocks!

We contacted every hotel within five miles of where I reside (I'm about 15 minutes walk from the city centre) and that's lots of hotels. Most of them claimed wheelchair access. He had but one question for each of them. Bath or roll-in-shower?

Every hotel excepting the Quality Choice Hotel had bath only. How in Christ's name is a wheelchair user supposed to manage a bath I ask you? The Quality Hotel had one room with roll-in-shower facilities and it was booked already.

I've avoided posting on this subject all week until this morning as I didn't want what I wanted to say littered with expletives. I'm still enraged, but I'm no longer homicidal. I totally understand how the old folks in the church lost it with the FF pukes. If anything, they were reserved.

I'd like it if Aragon went into the problems of needs based legislation versus rights based legislation. I'm not competent to go into this in the detail that I know Aragon is.

In the meantime, here's an article I persuaded my friend to write about access, some time back. LINK
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PostSubject: Re: I'm Bloody Disgusted - No Facilities For The Disabled   Sun Oct 26, 2008 3:42 pm

The standard of disabled access in this country is nothing short of disgraceful. It is not too long ago that we read of The Mezz Bar on Eustace Street in Temple Bar which had a brick wall behind an artificial disabled toilet door in the hope that nobody would ever use it. Not even the employees knew.

Problem with the law as it currently stands is that the 1991 Building Regulations only provide the necessity for a disabled access toilet and the Equal Status Act only provides that 'reasonable acommodation' must be made - whatever reasonableness means.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm Bloody Disgusted - No Facilities For The Disabled   Sun Oct 26, 2008 4:59 pm

The Building Regulations Part M require access for people with disabilities. This only applies to relatively new development. Local Authorities are meant to enforce this.

Architects and builders always forget - I think the law needs to change so that Part M is required for Planning Permission and Planning Departments need a person - preferably someone who themselves has mobility difficulties - to check the plans before permission is granted.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm Bloody Disgusted - No Facilities For The Disabled   Sun Oct 26, 2008 5:45 pm

Hi Hermes

Here's an Indymedia article I found :-) which attempts to describe the faults of the recent disability legislation:

http://www.indymedia.ie/article/70525
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PostSubject: Re: I'm Bloody Disgusted - No Facilities For The Disabled   Mon Oct 27, 2008 2:26 am

Exactly cactus, it requires access - not facilities. You can have access to a hotel room but that doesn't mean that you have to provide a specialised bath. That comes under the Equal Status Act whereby you must provide insofar as is reasonable, comparable facilities.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm Bloody Disgusted - No Facilities For The Disabled   Thu Nov 20, 2008 12:49 pm

Well, "Dublin aims to be the most accessible city for disabled", does it?

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2008/1120/1227134379435.html

Does anyone have any experience of, or know anything about the "Centre for Excellence in Universal Design" ?

( Squire, I still need to go back to your post in August on the Dubai thread, I think it was )
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PostSubject: Re: I'm Bloody Disgusted - No Facilities For The Disabled   Thu Nov 20, 2008 12:54 pm

Don't know how they can say it will be the most accessible city in the world with the amount of Georgian buildings under protection order meaning that you cannot install a lift.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm Bloody Disgusted - No Facilities For The Disabled   Thu Nov 20, 2008 1:37 pm

johnfás wrote:
Don't know how they can say it will be the most accessible city in the world with the amount of Georgian buildings under protection order meaning that you cannot install a lift.

Think about that one, not all things are desirable. I have been involved in restoring Georgian Buildings in London and it would be unthinkable to shove a lift in. If you have reasonably straight flights of stairs you can put in chair lifts, without doing a lot of damage

People construe disability with wheelchair access. There are more people with hearing difficulty, problems with sight and respiration. There is an unbelievable amount of money now being spent on making new buildings accessible for disabled use. It frequently dictates how sites are developed, reduces density and involves very questionable detailing at damp proof course level. I have also been involved in hotel construction and to give an idea of the detail, fire alarms have to be visual as well as audible and at night the deaf have to be provided with pillows that vibrate if the alarm goes off. Seriously! It even gets down to details like being able to open windows (that dictated the fenestration) and the distribution of disabled rooms among other rooms. New Hotels do have disabled bedrooms and the bathrooms do have level access showers and all sorts of grab rails.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm Bloody Disgusted - No Facilities For The Disabled   Thu Nov 20, 2008 1:44 pm

I'm not saying that it shouldn't strive to be the most disabled friendly city in the world. I am just doubting the ability of those involved to bring this desirable aim about - having experienced the difficulty that many disabled people experience around Dublin first hand.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm Bloody Disgusted - No Facilities For The Disabled   Thu Nov 20, 2008 1:53 pm

johnfás wrote:
Don't know how they can say it will be the most accessible city in the world with the amount of Georgian buildings under protection order meaning that you cannot install a lift.

Yep, when I went to UCC they made great strides to help students with disabilities through a dedicated Disability Support Office. But even they could only do so much when many lectures and tutorials were taking place in buildings (often houses) built in the 19th Century with no possibility of adaptation towards wheelchair use. Fine, to a point, but I lost count of the number of times that, when an alternative wheelchair-friendly location was available a couple of minutes away, the lecturer or whoever was somehow unable to switch, even with notice for one-off occasions. The lecturers often just couldn't be bothered, it was kind of a 'tough luck, this suits me better' approach. I had two wheelchair-using friends who thus had to either struggle for ages to get in, or just chose to skip. It bloody enraged me.

My mother is paralysed by MS and uses a wheelchair. You really do have to plan trips out, including to hotels, like a military operation. At my brother's wedding reception in Celbridge (despite promises to the contrary) we had something of a nightmare several years back trying to get my mother around, much to her upset (she, as usual, felt she was putting everybody else out).

Not every building can or should be altered massively to adapt so. But most could, with just a few minutes' thought, make life just that little bit easier.


Last edited by toxic avenger on Thu Nov 20, 2008 1:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: I'm Bloody Disgusted - No Facilities For The Disabled   Thu Nov 20, 2008 1:54 pm

My aunt has MS as well and a very similar situation occurred at her son (my cousin's) wedding two years ago. We also had my grandmother there who was in a wheelchair owing to athritis.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm Bloody Disgusted - No Facilities For The Disabled   Thu Nov 20, 2008 1:58 pm

There is massive expenditure on disabled access, but it will take decades. Look around you at the drop kerbs and ramps systematically appearing, the tactile warning paving, the pedestrian lights that are audible, the stairs with visually contracting nosings etc. etc. It is happening.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm Bloody Disgusted - No Facilities For The Disabled   Thu Nov 20, 2008 1:59 pm

johnfás wrote:
My aunt has MS as well and a very similar situation occurred at her son (my cousin's) wedding two years ago. We also had my grandmother there who was in a wheelchair owing to athritis.

What p1ssed me off most were the promises, repeated ones, that everything was fine. They just wanted the business, no doubt hoping we'd be content to struggle through on the day. The number of times this has happened I can not count. I have no problem with an open and up-front admission that a premises is unsuitable or difficult access. It's the lying, or plain ignorance, that bugs me.

And don't get me started on Ryanair...
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PostSubject: Re: I'm Bloody Disgusted - No Facilities For The Disabled   Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:02 pm

Yup Ryanair was absolutely terrible. My grandmother lived in England (mother is English) and the nearest airport was Stansted (Heathrow would not have been an option) so it was the Ryanair charade multiple times a year. Their treatment of the disabled was absolutely disgraceful and disgusting. However, I travelled over to London on Ryanair yesterday and was pleased to see the new system they have in place - a comfortable looking hydraulic machine that lifts the wheelchair safely up to the opposite door at the front of the aircraft and then a whole row of the aircraft given to the passenger. Much better than the situation where my 90 year old grandmother took her life in her own hands.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm Bloody Disgusted - No Facilities For The Disabled   Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:03 pm

Squire wrote:
There is massive expenditure on disabled access, but it will take decades. Look around you at the drop kerbs and ramps systematically appearing, the tactile warning paving, the pedestrian lights that are audible, the stairs with visually contracting nosings etc. etc. It is happening.

It's much better than it was even ten years ago, no question. I'll give this Government credit (which is rare) for the legislation introduced as far as it goes. But the will needs to be there to go quite a bit further, and I doubt we'll see it back until a few years after the current financial mess is sorted...
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PostSubject: Re: I'm Bloody Disgusted - No Facilities For The Disabled   Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:08 pm

Toxic

It is systematic, as you upgrade and repair roads, buildings etc you introduce the new standards. It really will take decades, but there is no other practical way of doing this.

Disabled Access is part of the Building Regulations.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm Bloody Disgusted - No Facilities For The Disabled   Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:14 pm

johnfás wrote:
Yup Ryanair was absolutely terrible. My grandmother lived in England (mother is English) and the nearest airport was Stansted (Heathrow would not have been an option) so it was the Ryanair charade multiple times a year. Their treatment of the disabled was absolutely disgraceful and disgusting. However, I travelled over to London on Ryanair yesterday and was pleased to see the new system they have in place - a comfortable looking hydraulic machine that lifts the wheelchair safely up to the opposite door at the front of the aircraft and then a whole row of the aircraft given to the passenger. Much better than the situation where my 90 year old grandmother took her life in her own hands.

Sorry to hear that. We were flying from Luton to Dublin once. A wheelchair had been promised (ours had to go in the hold) then never materialised. We were sent from desk to desk and back again while the buck was passed. Then, when we arrived in Dublin, after waiting for all the others to leave, we were told no wheelchair was ordered to meet the aircraft. They radioed for one then while we waited. It never arrived. Then they basically pleaded with my mother to try and get down the steps by herself (then she could still walk a little, with the help of two walking-sticks, but was very wobbly indeed). They were obviously desperate to achieve their fast turn-around. I refused to agree, but my mum eventually said she'd do it, she didn't want to wait and (typically) she felt she was holding everyone up. It took her ten minutes for her to get down the steps, me walking a step in front of her to stop her falling down the steps.

Then it happened again, on the way back. They had organised no wheelchair at Luton either. Only this time, luckily, Luton Airport themselves sent the wheelchair to help. A wee Italian fellow in the airport ambulance they sent to meet the plane explained everything. Ryanair were the only airline at the airport that refused to pay the small wheelchair-provision charge, that's why no wheelchair met us at either place.

I haven't given them a penny ever since.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm Bloody Disgusted - No Facilities For The Disabled   Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:17 pm

Squire wrote:
Toxic

It is systematic, as you upgrade and repair roads, buildings etc you introduce the new standards. It really will take decades, but there is no other practical way of doing this.

Disabled Access is part of the Building Regulations.

I'm really not criticising the Government or authorities, I think they've done better than previous administrations on this. And, of course, I realise it's gradual. My beef tends to be with individuals and outfits that either lie or can't be bothered to help, even if the only help is to tell us the truth that they can't help, or with radically thoughtless or selfish behaviour.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm Bloody Disgusted - No Facilities For The Disabled   Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:27 pm

Toxic

Fair enough, I didn't think you were criticising the Government. On small businesses, some of these measures really are causing some business owners very real difficulty and they simply can't afford to spend tens of thousands in their office widening doors, installing chair lifts, disabled toilets etc. Imagine you had to upgrade your house next time you do some alterations!!!

I agree if some hotels would be honest it would help, counter productive pretending otherwise.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm Bloody Disgusted - No Facilities For The Disabled   Thu Nov 20, 2008 3:52 pm

toxic avenger wrote:
Squire wrote:
Toxic

It is systematic, as you upgrade and repair roads, buildings etc you introduce the new standards. It really will take decades, but there is no other practical way of doing this.

Disabled Access is part of the Building Regulations.

I'm really not criticising the Government or authorities, I think they've done better than previous administrations on this. And, of course, I realise it's gradual. My beef tends to be with individuals and outfits that either lie or can't be bothered to help, even if the only help is to tell us the truth that they can't help, or with radically thoughtless or selfish behaviour.

The government is not sufficiently insistent about meeting new standards. In the current climate the slow pace of progress with the access issue is guaranteed to be halted.

The disability issue is one that used to expose the cracks in the FF/PD front. The PDs are virulent about suppressing rights for the disabled and it was Michael McDowell's department in particular who stuffed the disability lobby when the legislation was forced through. It was clear some FF ministers were embarrssed by it but they did as they were told nevertheless. As with every other aspect of economic policy FF have been thoroughly bullied by the PD neo con zealots. It's been like invasion of the body snatchers. FF are now so thoroughly indoctrinated with PD/IBEC ideology that the party has been able to close up shop, job done. The media have fully bought into it as well. What's staggering about this is that it's not about economic efficiency at all - PD/IBEC people see the public purse as its own pot of gold by a sort of divine right of kings. No expense is spared when it comes to facilitating big business.

Establishment thinking about disability courtesy of this ideology is basically to regard people as economic units. Thus the classification of disability for administrative purposes (sensory/physical/intellectual) can roughly be translated into able to work/sort of able to work/not able to work. Believe it or not when the disability legislation was first being drafted way back in 2000/1 the government people were so crass that they openly defined people in this way - so euphemisms were found for them instead after the disability lobby registered its disgust. The money more or less follows these groups in descending order of priority according to a person's likely economic usefulness. Politicians use people with disability like they do babies - to acquire a caring and compassionate image - Bertie Ahern vomit-makingly so*. Big names are often associated with disability charities but this is not and never will be any solution to estalishing a comparable standard of living for people with disability. There has also been a tendency in Ireland to view the situation exclusively as one of physical access. This has suited the property development emphasis in our economy - where subsidies and grants are made available to builders who very often are not meeting the standards required of them but nevertheless trousering the money. So there is in reality little altruism at play in the progress you see and the spending boom in access can be seen for what it is. There is always an angle on things when it comes to FF.

There is an urgent need for root and branch reform of attitudes to people with disability - as much, sorry to say, by people with diability as by the governments on which they depend. In the former case people still have a tendency to be sort of ashamed or feel guilty - and are reluctant to assert themselves. In the latter case for the main part - and certainly where Fianna Fail are concerned thinking is corrupted by a stubborn conviction that 'they' must take what 'we' give 'them'. It's never about us - all of us. The fundamental worth of each human life regardless of ones ability to does not even enter into it. kathy Sinnott who many on the left wrongly regard as an extreme right winger and who is undoubtedly pro-life - is nevertheless rightly concerned that behind the scenes policy on disability is tending towards in utero identification and abortion. To be born to a family with modest means is a often life sentence of anger and frustration - on top of the disability itself. Ask anyone involved and they will tell you that by far the worst aspect of the situation is the horifying and dehumanising drudgery involved in securing even minimal services. People are forced to spend so much of their time trying to secure what they need that they are unable to make the contribution to society that they would otherwise make.

The much fabled 'social partnership' has worked its poison on the voluntary sector in the same way as on the unions. It has completely debollocked groups and organisations that used to have real fire in their bellies and who were achieving more than they are now. Government placepeople such as the craven Angela Kerrins are installed at or near the top of most agencies and service providers whose job it is basically to keep people's heads under water. I've given up attending their conferences. The rhetoric is disarming at first and you would swear that these people were preparing to mount up and ride on Leinster House any second when nothing could be further than the truth. Instead politicians are given platforms from which to grandstand their 'compassion' and then allowed to escape out the door without hearing a single word of reality from the floor. The disability lobby urgently needs a firey radical left platform from which to make its case because NONE of the political parties are anything other than sickening opportunists on this issue. I know this for a fact.

*When Peter McKenna, the 54 year old man with Down Syndrome who died in appalling circumstances following outrageous neglect in his care at Lees Cross there was far more to that story than people knew. The running of St Michael's House had been gifted to a chum of Bertie Ahern's somewhile beforehand. He was a failed business man who had supported Ahern and who had no experience of running such an institution. A lot of sharks were getting into the running of care homes because of the privatising policies introduced on the back of PD/IBEC-led demands. Ahern's friend (whose name escapes me now) set about getting rid of the terminally ill patients who were such a 'drain' on St Michael's house and so Peter, who had lived very happily there for most of his life was farmed out to Lees Cross and died within a week in horrific circumstances . I was told by a former St Michael's House staff member -a whistleblower who tried to tell the whole truth about this (which Prime Time did not do, despite its efforts) - that Peter's family had been mystified by the way he was constantly squirming and wriggling in his bed during his last few days of life. They discovered subsequently that he had been suffering from appallingly painful bedsores - of which he had had none when he left St Michaels. The sickening cover-ups and investigations that ensued were a further harrowing experience for Peter's family - made all the more vicious by the sight of Bertie Ahern, provocatively attending an annual beano at St Michael's with his pal within a year or so of the tragedy - while the cover ups were ongoing and despite having been personally appealed to about the matter. He went out of his way to compliment St Michael's on the excellent service they were providing etc etc etc. I can hardly begin to imagine the anger Peter's family must have felt - but it's a real measure of the character of Bertie Ahern.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm Bloody Disgusted - No Facilities For The Disabled   Thu Nov 20, 2008 4:39 pm

Aragon I very much agree with you about the need to change attitude. I think a lot of people feel ill at ease and embarrassed in the company of someone who is afflicted. We tend to segregate and hide away, send them to schools for children with special needs etc. A change in attitude would make a big difference. There is no reason not to employ someone with a disability. You usually just have to make a few allowances.

On the physical structure of buildings I could go on but seriously the cost of modifications needed to provide equal access is beyond our means, has to be done gradually and in places it just cannot happen. That is reality.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm Bloody Disgusted - No Facilities For The Disabled   Thu Nov 20, 2008 5:01 pm

Squire wrote:
On the physical structure of buildings I could go on but seriously the cost of modifications needed to provide equal access is beyond our means, has to be done gradually and in places it just cannot happen. That is reality.

That is why I said that I don't believe the aspiration in Atticus' link, that Dublin be the most disabled friendly city in the world, will ever happen on any measure. Surely somewhere like Dubai, which has a much greater percentage of new development particularly in its CBD is much better positioned than Dublin to achieve such an aim simply because 80% of changes in Dublin would be retrofitted, whether it is improved footpaths, braille on notices, beeping traffic lights or the installation of lift shafts.

I am not questioning the necessity or the aspiration, merely saying I doubt it is going to be achieved. Call me a pessimist.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm Bloody Disgusted - No Facilities For The Disabled   Thu Nov 20, 2008 5:34 pm

Aragon wrote:
toxic avenger wrote:
Squire wrote:
Toxic

It is systematic, as you upgrade and repair roads, buildings etc you introduce the new standards. It really will take decades, but there is no other practical way of doing this.

Disabled Access is part of the Building Regulations.

I'm really not criticising the Government or authorities, I think they've done better than previous administrations on this. And, of course, I realise it's gradual. My beef tends to be with individuals and outfits that either lie or can't be bothered to help, even if the only help is to tell us the truth that they can't help, or with radically thoughtless or selfish behaviour.

The government is not sufficiently insistent about meeting new standards. In the current climate the slow pace of progress with the access issue is guaranteed to be halted.

The disability issue is one that used to expose the cracks in the FF/PD front. The PDs are virulent about suppressing rights for the disabled and it was Michael McDowell's department in particular who stuffed the disability lobby when the legislation was forced through. It was clear some FF ministers were embarrssed by it but they did as they were told nevertheless. As with every other aspect of economic policy FF have been thoroughly bullied by the PD neo con zealots. It's been like invasion of the body snatchers. FF are now so thoroughly indoctrinated with PD/IBEC ideology that the party has been able to close up shop, job done. The media have fully bought into it as well. What's staggering about this is that it's not about economic efficiency at all - PD/IBEC people see the public purse as its own pot of gold by a sort of divine right of kings. No expense is spared when it comes to facilitating big business.

Establishment thinking about disability courtesy of this ideology is basically to regard people as economic units. Thus the classification of disability for administrative purposes (sensory/physical/intellectual) can roughly be translated into able to work/sort of able to work/not able to work. Believe it or not when the disability legislation was first being drafted way back in 2000/1 the government people were so crass that they openly defined people in this way - so euphemisms were found for them instead after the disability lobby registered its disgust. The money more or less follows these groups in descending order of priority according to a person's likely economic usefulness. Politicians use people with disability like they do babies - to acquire a caring and compassionate image - Bertie Ahern vomit-makingly so*. Big names are often associated with disability charities but this is not and never will be any solution to estalishing a comparable standard of living for people with disability. There has also been a tendency in Ireland to view the situation exclusively as one of physical access. This has suited the property development emphasis in our economy - where subsidies and grants are made available to builders who very often are not meeting the standards required of them but nevertheless trousering the money. So there is in reality little altruism at play in the progress you see and the spending boom in access can be seen for what it is. There is always an angle on things when it comes to FF.

There is an urgent need for root and branch reform of attitudes to people with disability - as much, sorry to say, by people with diability as by the governments on which they depend. In the former case people still have a tendency to be sort of ashamed or feel guilty - and are reluctant to assert themselves. In the latter case for the main part - and certainly where Fianna Fail are concerned thinking is corrupted by a stubborn conviction that 'they' must take what 'we' give 'them'. It's never about us - all of us. The fundamental worth of each human life regardless of ones ability to does not even enter into it. kathy Sinnott who many on the left wrongly regard as an extreme right winger and who is undoubtedly pro-life - is nevertheless rightly concerned that behind the scenes policy on disability is tending towards in utero identification and abortion. To be born to a family with modest means is a often life sentence of anger and frustration - on top of the disability itself. Ask anyone involved and they will tell you that by far the worst aspect of the situation is the horifying and dehumanising drudgery involved in securing even minimal services. People are forced to spend so much of their time trying to secure what they need that they are unable to make the contribution to society that they would otherwise make.

The much fabled 'social partnership' has worked its poison on the voluntary sector in the same way as on the unions. It has completely debollocked groups and organisations that used to have real fire in their bellies and who were achieving more than they are now. Government placepeople such as the craven Angela Kerrins are installed at or near the top of most agencies and service providers whose job it is basically to keep people's heads under water. I've given up attending their conferences. The rhetoric is disarming at first and you would swear that these people were preparing to mount up and ride on Leinster House any second when nothing could be further than the truth. Instead politicians are given platforms from which to grandstand their 'compassion' and then allowed to escape out the door without hearing a single word of reality from the floor. The disability lobby urgently needs a firey radical left platform from which to make its case because NONE of the political parties are anything other than sickening opportunists on this issue. I know this for a fact.

*When Peter McKenna, the 54 year old man with Down Syndrome who died in appalling circumstances following outrageous neglect in his care at Lees Cross there was far more to that story than people knew. The running of St Michael's House had been gifted to a chum of Bertie Ahern's somewhile beforehand. He was a failed business man who had supported Ahern and who had no experience of running such an institution. A lot of sharks were getting into the running of care homes because of the privatising policies introduced on the back of PD/IBEC-led demands. Ahern's friend (whose name escapes me now) set about getting rid of the terminally ill patients who were such a 'drain' on St Michael's house and so Peter, who had lived very happily there for most of his life was farmed out to Lees Cross and died within a week in horrific circumstances . I was told by a former St Michael's House staff member -a whistleblower who tried to tell the whole truth about this (which Prime Time did not do, despite its efforts) - that Peter's family had been mystified by the way he was constantly squirming and wriggling in his bed during his last few days of life. They discovered subsequently that he had been suffering from appallingly painful bedsores - of which he had had none when he left St Michaels. The sickening cover-ups and investigations that ensued were a further harrowing experience for Peter's family - made all the more vicious by the sight of Bertie Ahern, provocatively attending an annual beano at St Michael's with his pal within a year or so of the tragedy - while the cover ups were ongoing and despite having been personally appealed to about the matter. He went out of his way to compliment St Michael's on the excellent service they were providing etc etc etc. I can hardly begin to imagine the anger Peter's family must have felt - but it's a real measure of the character of Bertie Ahern.

great post aragon, very informative about the politics behind disabled access.
you have my nomination for post of the month.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm Bloody Disgusted - No Facilities For The Disabled   Thu Nov 20, 2008 8:43 pm

Aragon wrote:
toxic avenger wrote:
Squire wrote:
Toxic

It is systematic, as you upgrade and repair roads, buildings etc you introduce the new standards. It really will take decades, but there is no other practical way of doing this.

Disabled Access is part of the Building Regulations.

I'm really not criticising the Government or authorities, I think they've done better than previous administrations on this. And, of course, I realise it's gradual. My beef tends to be with individuals and outfits that either lie or can't be bothered to help, even if the only help is to tell us the truth that they can't help, or with radically thoughtless or selfish behaviour.

The government is not sufficiently insistent about meeting new standards. In the current climate the slow pace of progress with the access issue is guaranteed to be halted.

The disability issue is one that used to expose the cracks in the FF/PD front. The PDs are virulent about suppressing rights for the disabled and it was Michael McDowell's department in particular who stuffed the disability lobby when the legislation was forced through. It was clear some FF ministers were embarrssed by it but they did as they were told nevertheless. As with every other aspect of economic policy FF have been thoroughly bullied by the PD neo con zealots. It's been like invasion of the body snatchers. FF are now so thoroughly indoctrinated with PD/IBEC ideology that the party has been able to close up shop, job done. The media have fully bought into it as well. What's staggering about this is that it's not about economic efficiency at all - PD/IBEC people see the public purse as its own pot of gold by a sort of divine right of kings. No expense is spared when it comes to facilitating big business.

Establishment thinking about disability courtesy of this ideology is basically to regard people as economic units. Thus the classification of disability for administrative purposes (sensory/physical/intellectual) can roughly be translated into able to work/sort of able to work/not able to work. Believe it or not when the disability legislation was first being drafted way back in 2000/1 the government people were so crass that they openly defined people in this way - so euphemisms were found for them instead after the disability lobby registered its disgust. The money more or less follows these groups in descending order of priority according to a person's likely economic usefulness. Politicians use people with disability like they do babies - to acquire a caring and compassionate image - Bertie Ahern vomit-makingly so*. Big names are often associated with disability charities but this is not and never will be any solution to estalishing a comparable standard of living for people with disability. There has also been a tendency in Ireland to view the situation exclusively as one of physical access. This has suited the property development emphasis in our economy - where subsidies and grants are made available to builders who very often are not meeting the standards required of them but nevertheless trousering the money. So there is in reality little altruism at play in the progress you see and the spending boom in access can be seen for what it is. There is always an angle on things when it comes to FF.

There is an urgent need for root and branch reform of attitudes to people with disability - as much, sorry to say, by people with diability as by the governments on which they depend. In the former case people still have a tendency to be sort of ashamed or feel guilty - and are reluctant to assert themselves. In the latter case for the main part - and certainly where Fianna Fail are concerned thinking is corrupted by a stubborn conviction that 'they' must take what 'we' give 'them'. It's never about us - all of us. The fundamental worth of each human life regardless of ones ability to does not even enter into it. kathy Sinnott who many on the left wrongly regard as an extreme right winger and who is undoubtedly pro-life - is nevertheless rightly concerned that behind the scenes policy on disability is tending towards in utero identification and abortion. To be born to a family with modest means is a often life sentence of anger and frustration - on top of the disability itself. Ask anyone involved and they will tell you that by far the worst aspect of the situation is the horifying and dehumanising drudgery involved in securing even minimal services. People are forced to spend so much of their time trying to secure what they need that they are unable to make the contribution to society that they would otherwise make.

The much fabled 'social partnership' has worked its poison on the voluntary sector in the same way as on the unions. It has completely debollocked groups and organisations that used to have real fire in their bellies and who were achieving more than they are now. Government placepeople such as the craven Angela Kerrins are installed at or near the top of most agencies and service providers whose job it is basically to keep people's heads under water. I've given up attending their conferences. The rhetoric is disarming at first and you would swear that these people were preparing to mount up and ride on Leinster House any second when nothing could be further than the truth. Instead politicians are given platforms from which to grandstand their 'compassion' and then allowed to escape out the door without hearing a single word of reality from the floor. The disability lobby urgently needs a firey radical left platform from which to make its case because NONE of the political parties are anything other than sickening opportunists on this issue. I know this for a fact.

*When Peter McKenna, the 54 year old man with Down Syndrome who died in appalling circumstances following outrageous neglect in his care at Lees Cross there was far more to that story than people knew. The running of St Michael's House had been gifted to a chum of Bertie Ahern's somewhile beforehand. He was a failed business man who had supported Ahern and who had no experience of running such an institution. A lot of sharks were getting into the running of care homes because of the privatising policies introduced on the back of PD/IBEC-led demands. Ahern's friend (whose name escapes me now) set about getting rid of the terminally ill patients who were such a 'drain' on St Michael's house and so Peter, who had lived very happily there for most of his life was farmed out to Lees Cross and died within a week in horrific circumstances . I was told by a former St Michael's House staff member -a whistleblower who tried to tell the whole truth about this (which Prime Time did not do, despite its efforts) - that Peter's family had been mystified by the way he was constantly squirming and wriggling in his bed during his last few days of life. They discovered subsequently that he had been suffering from appallingly painful bedsores - of which he had had none when he left St Michaels. The sickening cover-ups and investigations that ensued were a further harrowing experience for Peter's family - made all the more vicious by the sight of Bertie Ahern, provocatively attending an annual beano at St Michael's with his pal within a year or so of the tragedy - while the cover ups were ongoing and despite having been personally appealed to about the matter. He went out of his way to compliment St Michael's on the excellent service they were providing etc etc etc. I can hardly begin to imagine the anger Peter's family must have felt - but it's a real measure of the character of Bertie Ahern.

Absolutely no argument from me about how disabled and ill people are treated within the private health sector, nor about the appalling inadequacy of our health services generally. I lived in England for many years, coming here was a bit of a culture shock even with the NHS's faults. The grasping quick-buck mindset (particularly GPs and consultants) depressed me beyond words. Private care homes have been set up and run like bed & breakfasts, I know of one fellow here in Cork who was refused permission for a development of some sort so turned the building into a private care home as an afterthought, as if it were an economic safety net. I'll never get used to the mindset, no matter how long I'm here.

As to Ahern and his friend, you don't need to tell me what a conniving bunch of spivs they all are, utterly without principle. They are perfect examples of the Del-Boy culture that prevails among certain circles here, only except Del-Boy had something of a good heart underneath, a moral limit. Ahern's nothing but a backstreet gurrier underneath the pounds of make-up.
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PostSubject: Re: I'm Bloody Disgusted - No Facilities For The Disabled   Thu Nov 20, 2008 9:04 pm

"Nursing Homes" are another form of development, along with Co-Located Hospitals, that attract "tax incentives"- in other words a virtually free building to someone with a big tax bill.

So many of them have sprouted up, that they will probably turn them into something else.

There has been a series of shocking stories in the last few days about
money grubbing activities by doctors and waste in the health sector - charging the State for the care of dead medical card holders (tens of thousands in the last five years, and government still apparently hasn't put in a reporting system for deaths or a way of recouping the money), consultants using public hospital facilities to many times the value provided for in their contracts, grossly inflated government rates paid in Ireland for pharmaceuticals and so on.

These things are just theft.
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