Annual Listening Sessions

We organised our first online listening session with Disabled Persons’ Organisations (DPOs) and disabled people in 2021. After the success of the listening session and in keeping with Strategic Priority 4 of our Strategic Plan (2022-2024) - ‘To foster strong and open processes for engaging and consulting with persons with disabilities and the wider disability community’ the listening session is now held annually.

During our listening sessions, we listen to the views, experiences and expertise of people with disabilities in relation to the chosen theme. This is in line with article 4(3) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, whereby we seek to listen to diverse disability voices. These sessions help to ensure that the advice we offer to the Government is well informed by the lived experiences of people with disabilities.

Our listening sessions are usually held in May each year and will be advertised on our website and on Twitter @NDAIreland.

You can access summary reports of our recent listening sessions below.

2023 Annual Listening Session

Our 2023 listening session was held on 25 May on on Raising Awareness (Article 8 UNCRPD). The aim of the session was to listen to the lived experience of disabled people and other interested parties and explore issues and themes around raising awareness of disability.

Those in attendance heard from Adam Harris of AsIAm and Paula Soroghan of Independent Living Movement Ireland, who shared their experiences and insights on the theme. Participants then continued discussions in breakout rooms.

The summary report on the session is available here.

You can watch the video recording of the first part of the session (guest speakers).

2022 Annual Listening Session

Our 2022 listening session was held on 4 May on the theme of ‘Improving participation and inclusion through creating liveable communities’. The aim of the session was to listen to the lived experience of participation and inclusion and the suggestions of disabled people on how to make communities more inclusive and liveable.

The learning from the session helps inform our advice and information to the Minister, department officials and the wider public sector. The session also provided an opportunity for disabled people and DPOs to hear from each other.

In the Summary report of the session, the views of persons with disabilities as voiced in the consultation are grouped into the categories of:

  1. attitudes and community participation and inclusion,
  2. prioritising the participation of disabled people and DPOs,
  3. joined up thinking to improve personal supports and public services
  4. accessibility and Universal Design.

2021 Annual Listening Session

The theme of the 2021 session was ‘Building Back Better: The Post-Covid-19 World For Persons With Disabilities’.

The aim of the session was to hear perspectives on the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on education, employment, daily living, and the role technology

In particular, we wanted to hear of innovations or developments that could be adopted in the post-pandemic world to achieve better outcomes for people with disabilities.

Although participants highlighted the difficulties and challenges they experienced during the pandemic, many participants also experienced positive developments.

Many expressed hope that the positive elements achieved during the pandemic wouldn’t be lost but instead would be built on and improved for the future.

The views of people with disabilities voiced in the listening session have been grouped into four categories

  1. Representation and voice
  2. Universal Design
  3. Technology and education
  4. Employment.

A summary of the report can be read here.

Your Voice Your Choice Consultations

In 2012 and 2013 we organised two in-person consultations to listen to the views of people with disabilities called ‘Your Voice Your Choice’.

These consultations allowed us to talk with people with disabilities and learn from their lived experiences. These experiences helped influence the work and advice to Government.

The first Your Voice Your Choice consultation took place in Dublin in 2012 with 250 participants and a smaller consultation was organised in Cork in 2013 with 30 participants.

The 2012 consultation had broad themes around being treated equally, reaching one’s potential, participating in the community and living independently. The 2013 consultation focused on attitudes to people with disabilities.

The reports from these consultations capture the views and experiences of people with disabilities in Ireland.

The reports were sent to the relevant Minister and officials and to the participants. Both reports were used to inform our strategic plan development and our policy work.

Read the 2012 and 2013 Your Voice Your Choice Reports