Posted 26.04.2022

Since February 2022 our d/Deaf and Disabled People's Election Special Series, led by Nuala Toman, Disability Action's Head of Policy, Communications, Information and Advocacy, has provided a platform for all political parties to engage directly with d/Deaf and Disabled People on matters important to us in advance of the Assembly elections next Thursday, 5 May.

Disability Action wishes to thank all parties - SDLP, Alliance Party, The Green Party, Democratic Unionist Party, People Before Profit, Ulster Unionist Party and Sinn Féin for engaging with us and to everyone who attended this election series and shared their views, opinions and stories.

In February we launched our d/Deaf and Disabled People's Election Special Series with engagement with the SDLP - Nichola Mallon, MLA, Deputy Leader and Minister for Infrastructure, Mark H Durkan, MLA, Communities and Culture Spokesperson, Paul Doherty, Public Representative for West Belfast and Colin McGrath, MLA, Chair of the SDLP and Health Spokesperson which showed real opportunities for change. Colin McGrath commented "Excellent conversation with Disability Action chaired by the wonderful Michaela Hollywood, helping us to hear the priorities for the future and what we can do to help."

In the same month the Alliance Party's Kellie Armstrong Champion for d/Deaf and Disabled People, and Ross McMullan Belfast City Councillor, engaged with us on the development of their manifesto and their commitments to advance disability rights! 

In March we were joined by Rachel Woods MLA and Malachai O’Hara Deputy Leader of The Green Party to explore how to advance the rights of d/Deaf and Disabled People. Rachel Woods MLA is a specialist in Research and Champion for adequate social protection and is working hard to advance the rights of d/Deaf and Disabled Women and Children. Malachai O'Hara is a Community Development and LGBTQI+ activist. The Green Party support full incorporation and resourcing of UNCRPD.

On 26 April, Nuala will engage again with Mal O'Hara of the Green Party to reflect on progress towards the implementation of the UNCRPD and legislative and policy measures to advance change. Mal is passionate about suicide prevention and has worked hard for communities that suffered the most during the conflict and who continue to face challenge.

In March we hosted an Election Special with Sinn Féin featuring Pádraig Delargy, MLA and Disability Spokesperson and Colm Gildernew, MLA and Chair of the Health Committee. We had strong commitments from Sinn Féin to incorporate the UNCRPD into law.

In April we met with the Ulster Unionist Party, including Robbie Butler, MLA, Deputy Leader, Chair of APG on Disability, Bethany Ferris, Candidate for North Antrim, Stephen McCarthy, Councillor, Antrim and Newtownabbey, Ian Marshall, Candidate for West Tyrone, and Jill MacAuley, Councillor, Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon. Lots of lived experience was shared, and we had great engagement with the UUP who committed to end discrimination against d/Deaf and disabled people.

We also met with Gerry Carrol of People Before Profit who committed to working hard to advance the rights of d/Deaf and disabled people, incorporating the UNCRPD, investing in health and reopening the Independent Living Fund. 

On 29 April we will host our election special with the DUP, featuring Mervyn Storey, this event will be Chaired by Michael Holden MBE founder of Accessoloo and Chair of the Centre for Independent Living and will be opened by Andrea Brown, CEO of Disability Action.

Use your vote on 5 May 2022 to help make these commitments happen.

Use your vote on 5 May 2022 to help advance the Rights of d/Deaf & Disabled People in NI.

It is long past time for change. We deserve full inclusion. Nothing less.