Disabled Peoples Organisation (DPO) Coalition Consultation Report

The DPO Coalition worked from January 2020 to November 2021 to develop a Consultation report based on the views and experiences of disabled people in Ireland. This report was based on 672 surveys and 8 focus groups.  This Consultation Report was created in advance of the Irish Government presenting to the United Nations Committee on the Government’s work to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). The report was launched in June 2023. 

The DPO Coalition was made up of national Disabled People’s Organisations in Ireland who worked together to develop this report. The organisations involved in developing this report were: 

  • As I Am – Ireland’s Autism Advocacy Organisation 
  • Disabled Women of Ireland (DWI)  
  • Independent Living Movement Ireland (ILMI)  
  • Irish Deaf Society (IDS) 
  • National Platform of Self Advocates 
  • Voice of Vision Impairment (VVI) 

The Consultation Report provides information and insights into the lives of disabled people. Many of these are worrying such as lack of access to essential services, healthcare and public buildings. It also presents clear actions Government can focus on to improve disabled people’s lives and enable disabled people to participate fully in society.  This Consultation Report provides independent information collected on the lived experience and views of disabled people on the rights outlined in the Convention. 

The report is available in accessible MS Word, designed PDF and an ISL video translation here.


Key Findings of the Consultation Report include: 

Based on specific articles of the UN CRPD, the DPO Coalition Consultation identified the following issues facing disabled people in Ireland that need immediate action.  

Article 4.3  

The Irish Government should clearly identify and give priority to the supporting capacity of organisations of disabled people and prioritise their contributions in decision making.  A register of DPOs will support the government to implement this article across government departments and organisations. DPOs need to be distinguished from organisations ‘for’ disabled people.  

Consultation on issues relating to disabled people must be interpreted broadly, and include: 

  • Planning and designing of public places  
  • Transport  
  • Work conditions 
  • Healthcare settings 
  • Decision-making processes 

Article 5: Equality and non-discrimination 

This State must:  

  • Provide accessible information about anti-discrimination supports like the Workplace Relations Commission 
  • Provide free legal aid 
  • Acknowledge financial constraints on many disabled people  

Article 9: Accessibility  

Accessibility issues are common across public services and general society. They can occur across physical environment, transportation and technology. The State must:  

  • Remove institutional and bureaucratic barriers to accessing services by providing Personal Assistance (PA), or Irish Sign Language (ISL) interpreters
  • Acknowledge and respond to individuals’ communication support needs and preferences 
  • Enact regulations on designing accessible public places and transportation  
  • Provide information and materials in accessible formats 

Article 27 Right to work on an equal basis with others 

The State must: 

  • Enable disabled people to counter employment discrimination 
  • Increase public awareness of disabled people’s capacity to work and right to reasonable accommodations 
  • Promote employment for disabled people 
  • Remove barriers to work, including financial penalties 
  • Meet public sector targets for employment 

 Article 19 Living independently and being included in the community 

The right to live independently is not equally available in Ireland, due to: 

  • Lack of in-home and community-based services 
  • Financial penalties for living with partners 
  • Lack of access to suitable housing 
  • Personal Assistance (PA) availability and access to community facilities are key.  

Article 25 Health 

The State must: 

  •  Provide affordable, equal and timely access to all healthcare services, and, in particular, to mental healthcare and reproductive healthcare  
  • Provide sexual and reproductive services and related information in accessible formats
  • Remove physical barriers to access  
  •  Facilitate access to gender-sensitive services, including health-related rehabilitation. Such services are sensitive to people’s individual gender identities and sexual preferences.  
  • Train and raise awareness among healthcare service providers and professionals about disability      

Article 30 Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport 

There is low participation of disabled people  in many areas of life is due to: 

  • Accessibility issues 
  • Low public awareness of the supports available 
  • Low awareness from organisations of their responsibilities under the law to facilitate access for disabled people 
  • Absence of supports including Irish Sign Language 
  • We need to raise awareness across society about inclusion, accessibility, the power of language and non-discrimination. 

Article 6 Disabled women 

Disabled women and girls are subject to multiple forms of discrimination in education, employment, healthcare services and experience antisocial behaviour in society.  The State must: 

  • Focus on full and equal participation of women in society through investing in their education and facilitating employment of disabled women 
  • Provide financial supports for disabled women who are parents and/or have caring responsibilities 
  • Provide effective supports for disabled women who are exposed to domestic violence, abuse and discrimination 

Article 7 Disabled children  

Disabled children experience exclusion and discrimination in the education system, lack access to information, and often have limited access to necessary therapeutic services and supports.  The State must: 

  • Remove institutional and bureaucratic barriers in diagnostic services and the assessment of need process 
  • Make it so that people do not have to be diagnosed to be able to access supports  
  • Help parents of disabled children find the services they need more easily 
  • Consult with disabled children and their parents 

Article 24  Education 

The State must: 

  • Train and raise awareness for teachers and other educational staff 
  • Provide educational materials in accessible formats 
  • Remove barriers limiting options in higher and further education 
  • Oblige providers to provide necessary supports and access to education  
  • Address barriers in access to technology for childhood development and education 

Article 13 Access to justice 

Disabled people have little confidence in the legal and criminal justice system and relevant supports. This is due to lack of information for disabled people, and lack of awareness of disability and accessibility amongst legal professionals.  This can all result in discriminatory outcomes for disabled people engaging with the criminal system, including victims.:

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