On Tuesday 19th November, 2019 a motion will be brought before the Dáil to debate the right to personal assistance, which they see as an important step towards building political support for legislating for a right to the Personal Assistance Service ( PAS).
Currently there is no legal right to personal assistance in Ireland. Those in need of this support often find the application process problematic, as there is no standardised procedure and those in receipt of this support do not have any security regarding the continuation or extent of their service due to lack of legislative protection.
Independent Living is about disabled people having the freedom to have the same choices that everyone else has in housing, transportation, education and employment. Independent living is about choosing what aspects of social, economic and political life disabled people want to participate in. Independent living is about having control over your life, to have a family, to get a job, to participate socially and to realise your goals and dreams. For many disabled people, Independent Living can best be achieved through the Personal Assistance Service (PAS).
The Personal Assistance Service (PAS) is a tool that enables disabled people to do all the tasks that they cannot do for themselves. It provides disabled people with the freedom and flexibility they need to live their lives as they choose. A Personal Assistant (PA) is hired to assist disabled people with a range of day-to-day tasks that we cannot physically do for ourselves.
With a PAS, disabled people are in control and direct the PA to carry out tasks both inside and outside of the home, including personal care, domestic duties, assisting in day-to-day tasks such as shopping, support in the workplace or socialising. A PA does not “look after” or “care for” disabled people.
In 2017, 84 percent of those in receipt of a PA service received less than three hours a day and 42 percent of these people were in receipt of between one and five hours a week. This is only an average of 42 minutes a day, despite there being 1,440 minutes in a day and disability being a 24- hour affair. As far back as 1996, it was identified that an average need for 10 hours of PA service per person per week could only respond to essential personal care needs, not quality of life requirements and it would certainly not enable full active participation in the community.
Since the summer of 2018, ILMI has been developing a campaign to define, standarise, promote, invest and legislate for true Personal Assistance Services (PAS). The campaign, which is called #PASNOW, originated from consultations with ILMI members across the country. From that, ILMI worked with the Centre for Disability Law and Policy NUIG to look at how we could achieve the right to Personal Assistance in Ireland. This report was published in the Dail earlier in the summer.
ILMI have been working with Deputy Thomas Pringle with the support of deputies, Thomas P. Broughan; Maureen O’Sullivan, Catherine Connolly, Joan Collins, to bring a motion in the Dáil to debate the right to a Personal Assistance.
However, at this stage we need YOU to become an active participant in this campaign. We need to all work together to ensure our elected representatives know how important this Motion is and to participate in the debate. Most importantly we need them to understand what Personal Assistance Services really mean to us and how they can support us to ensure we finally have a right to access PAS. We need civil society groups to let politicians know that this is a human rights issue and that it has support beyond ILMI’s membership.
Damien Walshe – CEO Independent Living Movement Ireland
Further information available on Independent Living Movement Ireland Website