Special Olympics International Chairman Tim Shriver has said the American people will not let the current US administration downgrade services for those with disabilities.
Mr Shriver was speaking to RTÉ News in Washington, DC as he was named the new UNESCO chairholder at the IT in Tralee.
Shriver says the US will not tolerate stepping back from the rights of people with disabilities - Read more https://t.co/G097oCZoth pic.twitter.com/54Y0EiRiBg— RTÉ News (@rtenews) June 12, 2017
UNESCO is the United Nations agency responsible for physical education and sport.
Since 2013, the IT Tralee has been responsible for the UNESCO remit relating to transforming the lives of those with disabilities.
US President Donald Trump's first budget contains a number of cuts to programmes and services for those with disabilities.
Mr Shriver said he did not think that the budget was "a realistic plan for the government".
Americans, he said, would just "not allow" the president, senators, congresspeople, mayors or governors to "put people with disabilities on the streets; they won't allow them to be denied healthcare; it just won't happen".
"We cannot survive as a planet if we elevate exclusion, bullying, humiliation and marginalisation to public policy." pic.twitter.com/nP5o1eLjBR— RTÉ News (@rtenews) June 12, 2017
He said the world was now in "an era that's volatile, uncertain and ambiguous" where the issue of inclusion was not just "in play" for those with disabilities but it was in play for women, ethnic minorities, religious minorities, and refugees.
He admitted that many of those rights were at stake in the US currently, but said he hoped that "voices in the legislation and executive branch would emerge" to counteract that rhetoric.
It was important, he said, "to our kids, to our allies and to those who don't know or understand the United States that they see this as a country where the highest ideals of humanity are embodied".
Mr Shriver said: "We cannot survive as a planet if we elevate exclusion, bullying, humiliation and marginalisation to public policy."
The voices of those with disabilities "have to be heard" because the world was in a time of "enormous change", he said.
Ireland, he added, had been "an extraordinarily powerful model for the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities" not just in Ireland but around the world.
He praised the way Ireland and the Irish people had embraced inclusion at all levels, not just relating to those with disabilities.
But he said Ireland had more work to do though, and he would welcome the opportunity to hold discussions with the Irish Government during his time in Tralee.
The special relationship between Ireland and the Kennedy family continues in the centenary year of President John F Kennedy's birth with Mr Shriver's appointment; he is the nephew of JFK.
His mother, the president's sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver founded the Special Olympics movement nearly 50 years ago.
Mr Shriver said during his time as chairholder at Tralee he would like to work towards a goal that every school in the world would have a unified Special Olympics team.
He praised the 2003 Special Olympics World Games that were held in Ireland and said that the organisation would consider returning to Ireland if the Government launched a bid to host them again.
The Special Olympics movement will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year.