Iqura Naseem is hoping the Government will provide more employment supports for people with disabilities
With Budget 2022 just days away, many people will be hoping politicians haven’t forgotten about the issues impacting their lives.
While the pandemic has overshadowed much of the conversation over the past 18 months, the problems of the past have far from disappeared.
Iqura Naseem is 22 and has just finished her Masters in Accounting at Maynooth University.
She is a wheelchair user and is currently searching for a job, which is raising many concerns.
“I am not guaranteed that my office will be accessible and if I have to travel for work I cannot guarantee every place I go to will be wheelchair accessible or have a wheelchair accessible toilet,” she said.
When she does secure a job, Iqura said she worries she won’t be promoted or given a leadership role because of her disability.
“What if people don’t treat me the same as the non-disabled body person? The stigma against disability needs to be broken,” she said.
In the upcoming budget, Iqura is hoping the Government will provide more employment supports for people with disabilities.
“Funding is needed so people with disabilities can feel more comfortable in their workplace and work to their full potential,” she said.
She is also hoping to see investment in our public transport, which she said is not fit for purpose.
“I use the bus to get from A to B. I always feel very nervous because most of the time the ramp does not work. I have to get a taxi most of the time which costs a lot,” she explained.
While Iqura lives with her family and doesn’t require Assisted Living Services, she wants to see the Government prioritise funding in this area.
“The lack of hours for Assisted Living is shocking. I am blessed to have a caring family whom I live with.
“I have friends that use Assisted Living Services but cannot avail of the hours that they need because of the lack of resources there,” she said.
Iqura hopes the Government will listen to her concerns, “but I feel the Government often forgets about us,” she said.
Criodán Ó Murchú
23-year-old Criodán Ó Murchú is originally from Mullingar, and currently researching Environmental Sciences in NUI Galway.
He is hoping the Government will prioritise the health service in Budget 2022.
“I suffer from degenerative disc disease in my lower spine.
“This has also affected my mental health as I have found it difficult to exercise, sleep, and study,” he said.
Financially, Criodán said the costs associated with his health issues have been “enormous”.
He wants the Government to allocate more funding to mental health services in particular.
“Metal health funding is appalling.
“They should increase mental healthcare spending to 10% of the healthcare budget, increase staffing levels across healthcare services, expand CAMHS, and invest in primary care facilities, for a start,” he said.
Criodán also believes that the minimum wage should increase to match the living wage.
However, he said he is far from optimistic that the Government will address the issues facing young people.
“Current neoliberal policies over successive governments since I was born have completely left Ireland for ruin.
“The housing, education, and climate crises have been far from solved – I have no faith this Government will be any different,” he said.
Taylor Byrom is a mother of two, with another on the way.
She wants to see the Government tackle the high cost of childcare in the upcoming budget.
“I don’t think many people release how expensive childcare is.
“For my son alone his crèche fees are €950 a month full time,” she said.
Taylor also works in the area of childcare, so will be hoping to see a number of measures introduced to improve the situation for both parents and workers in the sector.
The other big issue Taylor wants to see addressed is housing.
“One of the most challenging things to deal with in Ireland is rent – it’s extremely high and there is not a lot of help out there.
“Affordable houses are not affordable for a parent on their own, or even parents that are together,” she said.
Taylor is hoping the Government will look to introduce affordable housing for every age and situation – whether married or single.
“We need a better quality of living in Ireland, where everyone is treated the same,” she said.
23-year-old Weronika Alchimionek is originally from Poland but has been living in Ireland for over 14 years.
She is hoping the Government will pay attention to the issues impacting young people in the upcoming budget.
“They need to recognise how the youth cannot afford a mortgage or rent,” she said.
For Weronika, the biggest challenges are housing and inflation.
“Rent is not cheap, and everything is going up in price,” she said.
She also wants to see the Government invest in mental health services.
“I would like for them to invest in mental health experts to speak on TV, schools, news or any kind of media to get rid of the stigma surrounding mental health.”
While Weronika believes Ireland is a great place to live, she said it is not ideal.
“I would love it if Ireland was a little cheaper – and a little bit more inclusive and understanding towards immigrants, the mentally ill, and the ones less educated or work experienced.