The axing of a vital allowance which enables people with disabilities to attend training courses and access employment is an attack on the most vulnerable people in society, according to Ireland’s largest disability service provider, Rehab Group.
Hundreds of young school leavers with a disability who take up training programmes this autumn are to have a special allowance of €31.80 per week axed which will have a devastating impact on those who need specialist supports to access further education and employment.
The allowance for those on rehabilitative training is a vital financial support. This small allowance facilitates people with disabilities to pay for travel and basic sustenance to attend training courses that can be far from their homes.
The move will affect hundreds of students hoping to access rehabilitative training courses with Rehab Group’s learning and training division, National Learning Network (NLN). NLN provides flexible training courses and support services for people who need specialist support in 50 centres around the country.
Rehabilitative training is a life skills foundation programme funded by the HSE and is geared towards supporting adults with disabilities to develop a range of skills that will support them in developing independence and progressing to further education or employment.
Director of Communications, Public Affairs and Fundraising with Rehab Group, Kathleen O’Meara said: “This move is an attack on society’s most vulnerable people who are reliant on this small allowance to be able to access training and employment and demonstrates how people with disabilities continue to be treated like second class citizens. For many, the axing of this allowance will mean people leaving school will be faced with little option but to stay at home.
“The value of the allowance is €31.80 per student per week so the overall saving would be minimal and yet it is a vital lifeline to those who need specialist supports to access further education or to enter the workforce. We see every day how courses like those provided by NLN can change lives, if people are prevented from accessing such training it will ultimately cost the State more down the line. Very little has changed since Ireland’s ratification of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities last year the Government remains selectively blind to the true cost of disability in Ireland,” she added.
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