The Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities

The Government set up the Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities in November 1993. The job of the Commission was to find out what life was like for people with disabilities in Ireland and to propose ways of making things better.

The 1996 Report of the Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities, entitled A Strategy for Equality, was a milestone. The Commission's Report was the outcome of a major consultative process involving people with disabilities.

Among other results, the Commission's report led to the Government policy, announced in 2000, and given legal effect in the 2005 Disability Act, to oblige mainstream public services to include people with disabilities.

National Disability Strategy - 2004

The Government launched the National Disability Strategy on 21 September 2004 with the overall aim of supporting equal participation of people with disabilities in society.

The strategy builds on existing policy and legislation, including the policy of mainstreaming public services for people with disabilities. It has been endorsed in the social partnership agreement in 2016.

The key elements of the strategy are:

  • The Disability Act 2005

  • The Citizens Information Act 2007, which equips the Citizens Information Board (formerly Comhairle) to provide a personal advocacy service for people with disabilities

  • The Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004

  • Sectoral plans prepared by six Government departments

  • A multi-annual investment programme worth €900 million targeted at high priority disability support services which ran until 2009

The Towards 2016 Strategic Document pulls together the vision, mission and strategic objectives of the National Disability Strategy.

Baseline monitoring of a suite of indicators was conduced in 2009 with additional monitoring conducted in 2011 and 2013.

National Disability Strategy Implementation Plan 2013-2015

The National Disability Strategy Implementation Plan was prepared and agreed upon by the National Disability Strategy Implementation Group and submitted to the government on the 23rd of July 2013.

The publication of the Plan, a commitment in the Programme for Government, is a significant step forward in ensuring progress is achieved in implementing the National Disability Strategy over the next three years.

There was a gap between the end of the National Disability Strategy implementation plan 2013-2016 and the commencement of the new National Disability Inclusion Strategy 2017-2022.

A survey on National Disability Strategy Indicators was conducted in 2013 as part of monitoring the strategy.

Sectoral Plans

Part 3 of the Disability Act 2005 required six Government departments to prepare plans (known as sectoral plans) that set out how they would deliver specific services for people with disabilities.

These departments published such plans in 2006. The names of the departments are below although some of these names have changed and mostof their sectoral plans are no longer online and they fell out of use as the National Disability Strategies were developed.

  • Department of Health and Children

  • Department of Social and Family Affairs

  • Department of Transport

  • Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources

  • Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government

  • Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Value for Money and Policy Review of Disability Services

In 2012 the Department of Health and HSE published the Value for Money and Policy Review of Disability Services in Ireland. This was an evaluation of the effectiveness of the HSE-funded statutory and non-statutory disability services in Ireland. It makes a range of recommendations about how these services should be structured.

Our Advice paper to the Value for Money and Policy Review of Disability Services Programme set out our advice to the government regarding the provision of support for people with disabilities within a mainstream and community framework.

The Value for Money report informed the HSE’s Transforming Lives Programme. You can read more about this programme on our Transforming Disability Services page.