Center for Independent Living meets senior European Commission officials

PRESS RELEASE

Thursday 27th September  2012

“It reassured CIL that the Troika does not provide detailed instructions on how to meet the programme targets and that it was primarily a matter for the Irish Government to choose measures not the Troika.”

Center for Independent Living meets senior European Commission officials Thursday 27th September 2012

The Center for Independent Living (CIL), the national disability organisation run by people with disabilities, met Thursday with senior officials from the European Commission. The meeting was held to discuss the recent cuts in the Health Service, which led to CIL members protesting outside the Dail, and specifically the impact these cuts would have on people with disabilities.  CIL expressed its concern that the vulnerable were being singled out by the Irish Government in order to meet targets set by the Troika.

CIL referred to the European Commission’s obligations pursuant to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 together with the EU Roadmap thereto.

The EU officials considered the HSE Press Release of 30 August 2012 and in particular the opening line which stated that “the HSE has been set clearly defined budget targets by both the Troika and the Government”. The press release then went on to list the cuts to be made which included the (since reversed) cuts to Personal Assistance services and also cuts to homecare hours.  This may have given the impression that it was the Troika that sought these particular cuts.

For its part the European Commission welcomed meeting with CIL and the feedback that CIL was able to provide. It reassured CIL that the Troika does not provide detailed instructions on how to meet the programme targets and that it was primarily a matter for the Irish Government to choose measures not the Troika. As far as it was concerned, regarding health, the Troika has raised issues such as the high cost of drugs, levels of pay for hospital consultants, issues concerning health insurance and opening up competition in the GP sector. The issue of personal assistants for people with disabilities has not been raised by them.

CIL was told that the Commission had discussed with the Government the policy of achieving savings by reducing public employee numbers rather than by tackling high wage costs. The officials said they understood the importance of the Croke Park agreement in keeping people on side and in facilitating reform but emphasised that it may be prudent to review Croke Park with a view to revising some pay scales and that more action may be needed with regard to non-core pay and allowances, should desired savings not materialise.

CIL was invited back to meet with the officials following the next quarterly Troika review in October.

Michael McCabe said that “They listened attentively and respectfully, they really heard what we were saying.  Having met with them I am satisfied that it is within the remit of Government to choose whether or not to target the vulnerable and they are not being told by the Troika to do this and for the Government or State agencies to suggest otherwise is disingenuous.”   

 

                                                                        CIL 27th September 2012

 

ENDS.

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