[Sinn Fein]

2nd July 2003

Governments priorities don't include the rights of Disabled

Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Education Seán Crowe has said he is extremely disappointed at the Government's failure to deliver on its pledge to publish the Education for Persons with Disabilities Bill before the end of this Dáil session.

The Dublin South-West TD said: ``We have been waiting all year for this piece of legislation. Along with the Disabilities Bill, which the Government has also failed to bring forward, it was to provide the basis for real inclusion for the Disabled. I am extremely disappointed that Minister Smith announced today in the Dáil that the Bill would not now be presented before the summer. Another promise has been broken, another community has been betrayed.

``When the Government Chief Whip Mary Hanafin announced the legislative programme for this Dáil session, those two Bills were the first ones she mentioned and the Government's top priorities. The Disabled community and its representative organisations have been waiting a very long time for the Government to bring this legislation forward and get its act together on this issue.

``The Government has succeeded in publishing not only the deeply flawed Intoxicating Liquor Bill but also a massive array of amendments to the Immigration Bill and ramming them through the House with little debate and in double quick time. Clearly when a PD Minister feels strongly about an issue the Government swings into action, but the rights of the Disabled remain low down the list of this Government's priorities.''

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