On 21 March Minister of State for Disability, Anne Rabbitte, chaired a meeting of Disabled Persons’ Organisations, disability service provider organisations and members of the Disability Stakeholder Group to discuss the impact of the war in Ukraine, the effect on people with disabilities in Ukraine, and how best to coordinate supports.
Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, also joined the meeting to provide an update on the state’s response to the war in Ukraine, efforts to accommodate people fleeing the war, and the additional challenges and hardships being faced by people with disabilities in an already harrowing situation.
Organisations at the meeting detailed the work being done to respond to the crisis across civil society organisations, both nationally and internationally.
The meeting provided an opportunity to share perspectives and expertise on challenges and potential solutions. Attendees discussed the particular difficulties and challenges being faced by people with disability fleeing conflict, along with the challenges for people with disability who remain in Ukraine. These challenges include the need for medical support, assistive aids and devices, and bespoke accommodation needs. Attendees agreed to work together to further coordinate action to respond to the crisis.
Minister O’Gorman and Minister Rabbitte thanked attendees for sharing their expertise and indicated the importance of ongoing dialogue and collaboration in meeting these challenges.
“My Department is working as a matter of urgency to accommodate those people who arrive in Ireland fleeing the war in Ukraine. We are seeing an unprecedented number of people who require accommodation and support, but I am heartened by the incredible generosity and solidarity being displayed in response to the conflict.” said Minister O’Gorman.
“Ireland will not leave people with disabilities behind as we respond to the crisis. There will be challenges but after meeting some of our disability organisations I know that we will work together to address them”.
“We know that in conflict scenarios people who are more vulnerable suffer additional hardship. We must do everything we can to support people with disabilities who arrive seeking accommodation and supports, and we also must consider how we support those who stay in Ukraine, or are currently unable to leave.” said Minister Rabbitte.
“Coordination between the government, its agencies and civil society groups and organisations is important during such conflict to ensure that everybody is working together as best they can to support people as they arrive into Ireland, including people with disabilities.”
“Meeting our disability organisations underlined the challenge in accommodating people with additional needs but also showed me that we have the will to find solutions. Working together with civil society we will do everything in our power to support those affected by the war”. said Minister Rabbitte.