I was very pleased to have secured a position on the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health, as it provides me with a further opportunity to put badly needed services in place for the disability community. This Committee plays an important role in scrutinising the work of the Department of Health and its agencies, as well as examining current health policy, assessing the future planning of health services and scrutinising any proposed changes to the way healthcare is delivered in this country.
As a result of my participation, there is a strong focus in the 2017 work programme on disability and mental health and the Department of Health’s strategy statement now strongly emphasises the UNCRPD and independent living for people with disabilities.
I am also actively contributing to the ongoing debate on the Disabilities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016, which set out to address the remaining legislative barriers to Ireland’s ratification of the UN CRPD and have engaged in the Justice Committee with Minister McGrath.
As a Member of the Seanad I have the ability to speak on disability issues across the various Committees. This has enabled me to address accessible transport with Minister Shane Ross in the Transport Committee to highlight the removal of the accessible bus route from Clonmel to Dublin Airport which was replaced with an inaccessible service.