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Anne Kennedy

Read Me The shoes we walk in - being disabled in Ireland

Anne Kennedy, a disabled woman from Wicklow, tells her story through her shoes. received this image and accompanying email in the early hours of this morning. The writer, Ann Kennedy from Greystones in county Wicklow, was one of a number of protesters who demonstrated outside Leinster House yesterday. The newly-formed group, Leaders Alliance, stayed overnight to ensure that the Government will follow through on a decision not to cut Personal Assistant services for people with disabilities. Anne gives the reader a glimpse of her life – through her shoes.

I PLACE MY shoes here right now at this time. On the left are the shoes I received about six years ago and these were provided by the HSE.

On getting them they were too tight so the special insole had to be removed. The guy taking measurements acknowledged that he forgot to measure the pes cavus deformity and the top part of my foot, not the part that hits the ground – he did that alright! No ‘raised bit’ was put on the left shoe of these dark brown pair even though I have a shortened leg.

I have deformed feet, pes cavus, an ankle joint that is more or less fixed, an achilles tendon which is far too tight and short. It is all congenital.

The second summer shoes are older. I once got two pairs a year, then one pair (to be worn in the summer heat too). Then I got none as the budget was cut. Now I have holes in them but in my new county I am being measured up because the funding is OK here. They were shocked to see both my feet and the shoes.

Please post this…it will be at least 18 months before I get my new shoes but they have to be sanctioned first, which hasn’t happened. I tried and tried to get shoes on the open market but to no avail.

Anne Kennedy described herself as “the one in the pink hat” outside the Dáil yesterday. She was with her twin sister Dr Margaret Kennedy who mentioned these shoes (or lack of new shoes) on television programmes last night.

Read: Cuts to personal assistant services will NOT take place>

More: People with disabilities holding overnight protest against HSE cuts>

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