UNCRPD in Ireland – begging for change


The last few months, I’ve read and watched more political news than I could stomach. As a result, shortcut rambling, and buzzwords on Twitter like ‘“tremendous,” “ban,” “wall” and “crooked” now linger in my own vocabulary when I sit down to write. Trying to wipe self-centered #TrumpSpeak from my mind seems futile, though, as each day brings more White House drama.

In contrast, Michelle Obama’s selfless message has always been, “Say something true,” rather than “What will make me sound smart, or witty, or powerful?” or “What does the audience want to hear?” Unlike Donald Trump’s vernacular, her message is genuine and frank and she always delivers a genuine message that has the power to move and inspire.

As a writer, conceiving posts can only be done by communicating brutally honest messages. You cannot bring about transformation by using empty expressions or hyped-up buzzwords that change meaning after a couple of weeks.

Unfairness, ignorance and baseless conjecture are my pet peeves, and it’s fair to say that we knew Trump’s politics would contain all of the above, but we didn’t expect it to be this bad. As a result, I have never been so amazed and shocked by any politician in such a short time frame. More annoyingly, because I love psychology so much, I keep wanting to know more about Trump’s state of mind.

You can see the conundrum, so.

disability-rightsAdded to this, I’ve anxiously been waiting for the Irish government to finally ratify the UNCRPD. Once again, though, Leinster House carries out a deafening silence which means that the ratification has been put on the back burner.

The last few months have been difficult on a physical level also. Aside from adding more trigeminal neuralgia to my daily MS symptoms over Christmas and New Year, stress found a way to my heart, literally. Result? Six medical appointments this month, with 5 more in March.

In short, I need a break from myself. The only thing that can and will lessen those stressors are advocating, focusing on others, reading, and writing. And I have done too little of everything.

Disability and MS advocacy is about patients’ rights, and as an expert-patient, you can bring valuable perceptions on healthcare and welfare policies to the table. In doing so, you can hold policy-makers accountable by pushing them for the realisation of policies, and not justification for delayed promises.

In my view, advocacy is also about morals, empowerment and about showing politicians that people with disabilities deserve dignity, empathy, and understanding instead of being mocked like Donald Trump did on his campaign trail.

Sadly, though, it is clear that the Dáil Éireann’s vision for people with disabilities doesn’t match its so-called need to show how perfect Ireland’s disability rights will be after the UNCRPD ratification are therefore shameful and abusive.

The UNCRPD ratification delay by Daíl Éireann’s is so, so, so not OK. It is demeaning, humiliating and holding people with disabilities for ransom in political agendas that we know nothing about. Assuming that people will “just take” another ratification delay is abusive. We don’t need buzzwords or platitudes, we’ve had enough of them throughout the years. It is about a date, a date that will finally give people with disabilities the same rights as in other European countries.

Or, is that too much to ask, dear Taoiseach?

Over the years, many extraordinary, inspiring people with disabilities have shown how they have rocked the world in their unique way. What the likes of Trump might regard as incompetence, I have seen extremely able, courageous people who have raised the bar not only for themselves but for others as well. They are living proof that having a disability is not the end of the road. There is, in fact, a whole world ahead of you.

So, while we continue to wait, it might be good to remember these strong words from Michelle Obama, “When they go low, we go high.”

We won’t give in to bullies on neither side of the fence, and we definitely won’t stoop to their level.

Ratification of the UNCRPD will happen, and when it does, we will go high.

Further reading

My UNCRPD Posts for the MS Society

  1. Access to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  2. United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities
  3. The General Election- One MSer’s Perspective
  4. Budget 2016 

Own blog posts

  1. UNCRPD – Getting Ready to Ratify (1)
  2. UNCRPD – Getting Ready to Ratify (2)
  3. UNCRPD – The Right on Participation in Political and Public Life
  4. Disability rights in Ireland
  5. Disability rights in Ireland, 3 years later
  6. The sorry state of neurology in Ireland
  7. The sorry state of neurology in Ireland, one year on
  8. Disable Inequality campaign
  9. Irish public transport: access all areas?
  10. Disability is never cured with one pill alone


©WVE and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2017. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner are strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to WVE and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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