I finally managed to rewatch The Week in Politics so that I could hear for myself something that had been said by Enda Kenny TD which had kindly been pointed out to me.

You can watch the entire show here. But the bit I was interested in starts from 08:10 onwards (grammar is my own interpretation of pauses etc)

“Within that social welfare budget I’d like to say this…. See, there are those who cannot work, the disabled, the carers, pensioners and the children. They can’t work”

As part of a discussion on social welfare, Mr Kenny said this and I doubt many people heard. I’m almost reluctant to comment on, for fear I will be misunderstood and because I’m quite possibly bringing more attention to soemthing I wish hadn’t been said.  And given that the context is quite clear (relating to social welfare), please make no mistake – I laud his determination to ensure that those who cannot work have their payments protected. What bothers me, is that if he presumes that if all disabled people cannot work, then that perception remains and there is a risk that it becomes self fulfilling. As long as being disabled is equated with not being able to work, then every disabled person first has to convince an employer they are able to work, before even trying to convince them they can do the job

This isn’t a post about Enda Kenny, but rather meant to be one which challenges that kind of casual, well intentioned prejudice. Such blanket statements do no one any favours as they do not accurately reflect the situation and experiences of disabled people, and reinforce the very attitudes and beliefs I try to challenge.  Statements like that permeate our thinking, and our perceptions, and how we act and percieve others. For disabled people who are working and can work, this is the kind of small but crucial attitudinal issue they have to challenge every day.