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Order of Business

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I hope that the Cathaoirleach is not taking my time. This morning I was outside the gate with the Irish Wheelchair Association. It presented a petition relating to its pre-budget submission. A number of other Deputies and Senators were there as well. Three areas were mentioned in the petition. One, in the area of health, related very strongly to the provision of personal assistance supports for people with disabilities. One related to the area of housing. I will not go into the detail, but thousands of people with disabilities were on the social housing waiting list before our official national housing crisis started. The other area related to national public transport, which covers taxis, buses and trains. Many people with disabilities cannot use them. Even when they give 24-hours notice on a weekday or 48-hours notice for weekend travel they still regularly cannot avail of that public service. These are issues which are certainly pertinent for the budget. We must ensure there is a social side to the budget for people and families who are in real need.
Today there are 1,207 young people with disabilities in nursing homes, and when I look around this Chamber I note that some of those people are half our age. The average length of stay in a nursing home is about two years. There are people in their 30s and 40s who cannot foresee anything but the rest of their lives in nursing homes. That is connected with two things which were mentioned this morning. I have raised the need for supports so that people can stay in their own homes, within their own communities and with their families. We are talking about getting people out of residential settings. The State is putting those people into those residential settings. The allied part of that is having suitable housing in the community.