A group representing disabled artists and academics has said that disabled people need to be allowed to keep core disability supports in order to "level the playing field" with their non-disabled peers.
Members of the Disabled Artists and Disabled Academics group met politicians at Leinster House today to outline issues they feel are barriers to their full participation in the arts, culture and academia.
The group said that current social protection regulations exclude disabled artists from entering self-employment, as supports like the blind pension, disability allowance and invalidity pension are reduced as soon as the person earns over €140 a week.
They maintain that disabled artists are competing with non-disabled people for work and the more they earn, the more support they lose.
It is estimated that the cost of having a disability is between €9,000 and €12,000 a year, and that meeting this cost is a prerequisite to being able to work, therefore the cost of disability is essentially pricing the disabled person out of the self-employed market.
The group also said that certain State supports including the Workplace Adaptation Grant and supports given to employers to employ disabled people are not available for self-employed people like artists whose place of work and nature of work changes constantly.
Spokesperson for the group Emilie Conway said that what disabled people need is a secure payment to respond to the cost of having a disability.
Speaking to RTÉ News, she said that issues associated with having a disability, like having a ‘flare-up’ of a condition or using expensive aids don’t go away when the person receives a payment for their art, and artists need to be able to rely on their core funding.