Supporting Local News

State support needed to prevent people with disabilities slipping into poverty

The Government should be focused on equity of access to transport, education and jobs for people with disabilities.

That’s according to a young Oughterard man with autism who says as the Minister of Finance draws up Budget 2024, more needs to be done to prevent people with disabilities slipping into poverty.

Brian D’Arcy, who is an elected member of Rehab’s North West Regional Advocacy Committee, told the Connacht Tribune that better resourcing of transport, healthcare and further education would benefit everyone, but in particular those with disabilities.

Transport is of significant interest to Brian, who says despite feeling lucky to have access to a decent service to Galway City in Oughterard, he knows all too well of the struggles many of his fellow service users face in getting to Rehab’s OASIS community outreach service in Bohermore.

“For me, transport from Oughterard to Galway is very good but for my friends in the service, they could only have one bus per day, or very limited options and that upsets me. I want everyone to be equal,” says 23-year-old Brian.

“If I want to stay late in town, I can. There are a lot of options for Oughterard. But for Clifden, the last bus is 6.15pm. The 8.15pm bus only goes as far as Oughterard. Transport should be better, especially when there’s the green agenda. They should be making it better, to reduce emissions.”

Brian believes more could be done, too, to improve the service people with disabilities receive on public transport and suggests disability awareness training for staff members would be a good start.

Rehab Advocacy Officer for the North West Region, Claire Gibson, says the absence of this sort of training can have a devastating impact.

“During a focus group last year, we had a deaf service user who was verbally abused by a bus driver. She didn’t have her card with her to say that she was hard of hearing, and he didn’t have the patience. That’s why one of the things we need is disability awareness training for public transport staff,” says Claire.

Photo: Brian D’Arcy. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Read the full interview in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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