‘Protect the disabled’ call

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Councillor Robbie Butler has said that in spite of the current Assembly crisis, the Stormont Executive and especially the Social Development Minister “must give categorical assurances on rights for people with long-term disabilities, special needs, and the families who care for them”.

Cllr Butler said: “I want to challenge the Minister and Executive to reassure people who have long-term disabilities and special needs, and the families who care for them, that any new assessment process for the employment and support allowance will not result in those people having to participate in work or training that they cannot do.

“I certainly will remind the Executive about a past Welfare Reform Bill debate where assurances were given, following much research and investigation, that anyone who had particular difficulties would not be forced into work-type situations.

“I intend to keep both the Minister and the Executive to this pledge regarding one of the most vulnerable sections of our hard-pressed society.

“I give my pledge to the Lagan Valley constituents that if I uncover any evidence suggesting that any of my constituents was experiencing certain difficulties, I will inform the relevant ministers.

“I will be seeking further assurances that any such instances would be investigated fully and dealt with,” said Councillor Butler.