The Union of Students in Ireland is backing calls by disability activist groups for the Government’s Green Paper on Disability Reform to be scraped and disabled people to be directly involved in preparing future plans.

USI members attended today’s protest at Dáil Eireann organised by Neuro Pride Ireland, and the union is completely opposed to the changes that disability groups say will not help break down the barriers that face people trying to enter the workforce and will only leave them financially worse-off.

Government should be looking to address the societal challenges that people with disabilities face in engaging with education, including third-level, and in developing meaning careers, says USI.

USI Vice President for Equality and Citizenship, James Curry said: “USI is proud to attend today’s protest and support students with disabilities and disabled activists in general. The proposals in the Green Paper will negatively affect people who are on Disability Allowance, and other such payments. It is also completely wrong to talk about putting people into ‘tiers’ in order to decided what support they should get.

“USI, along with our members, calls for the Disability Allowance be increased to cover the cost-of-living in Ireland. But the most important thing that disability activists and their supporters are demanding is proper inclusion in the preparation of plans that will affect their whole lives. There must be meaning engagement and partnership. USI is preparing a submission to the Department of Social Protection to this affect and will continue to support protests like today’s.”

USI urges student representatives, students and all other supporters to sign this petition to support the calls from disability activists.