What would you say to a politician if one called to your door?

General Election 2016 is just around the corner, and the question was put to the Living Skills Group in Trinity College Dublin to see what their thoughts were on the issues to be brought to the attention of our politicians as they seek our votes...

  • At first, everyone gave out about politicians. “They offer the moon and the stars, and do nothing”; “They sit on their asses”. “They should give everyone a house or apartment”, “look after the elderly”, etc.
  • Some politicians are good while some are not.
  • Housing was top of the list of worries.
  • They agreed that being connected to a service was a good thing, but some of the services can’t get enough funding from the HSE.

This was the question asked to a group of people with intellectual disabilities doing a course in Independent Living Skills in The Discipline of Occupational Therapy, Trinity College Dublin. They live with either their family or in a hostel, or in their own apartments. Some have jobs, some are in services, some do nothing much all day other than go to health services.

At first, everyone gave out about politicians. “They offer the moon and the stars, and do nothing”; “They sit on their asses”. “They should give everyone a house or apartment”, “look after the elderly”, “free dental care, and medical care”, “more jobs and more respite”, “get rid of the water charges”.

They were then asked if they had ever gone to a TD, and three had. “My TD is great, he has been a great help to me and my family”.  Another said “He didn’t do much for me”.

The next question was about what politicians could do to make things easier for people in situations like themselves.  Housing was top of the list. One person told his story about going to services for the homeless, for example Focus Ireland who told him told to get help elsewhere as that their service was not for the likes of him. Another person told his story about being on the housing list for years, staying in a hostel with other homeless people for four months, and about how eventually his advocate was able to get him sorted with an apartment. Someone else talked about how her social worker got her into a hotel when it was dangerous to live with her family.

When asked what was the most important thing to have, some said it was a key worker and or an advocate. They agreed that being connected to a service was a good thing, but some of the services are now refusing to take people because they can’t get the funding from the HSE. “They should stop fighting and give in a little on both sides”. “People need services. We need help in getting medical services and especially for mental health.” “If you fall out with your service, or if you think they are crap, you don’t have anyone else to help you. What can a politician do about that?”

Author Bio

Living Skills Group, Trinity College Dublin.

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