Skip to main content

For Oral Answer on : 09/02/2023
Question Number(s): 105 Question Reference(s): 6171/23
Department: Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.


To ask the Minister for Children; Equality; Disability; Integration and Youth the progress made under the National Disability Inclusion Strategy 2017-2021; his Department’s plans for another such strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


As Minister of State with responsibility for Disability, I am committed to advancing measures and initiatives to support disability rights and inclusion.

Much of the recent progress that we have achieved was advanced across Government by the National Disability Inclusion Strategy (NDIS), which my Department coordinated up to its conclusion at the end of 2022. Thanks to the NDIS, a huge range of actions have been committed to and progress has been made on issues at every level of government.

At the last meeting of the NDIS Steering Group in December 2022, 30 of the actions outlined in the NDIS had been completed and a further 74 actions were ongoing or on track. This means that at least 104 of 121 actions in the NDIS were either complete, or were on track for completion by the end of the year, or represented ongoing ways of working that will continue beyond the lifetime of the Strategy itself.

Key achievements under the NDIS include the following:

  • The enactment of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) (Amendment) Act 2022.
  • The amendment of Technical Guidance Documents for school and educational buildings to ensure universal design principles and guidelines are fully considered in all designs for new building and, where possible, in the retrofit of existing buildings.
  • The publication of reports on vocational rehabilitation and on effective models of employer engagement across OECD countries.
  • The ongoing collaboration with the Disability Stakeholder Group.

Of those actions which were on track or ongoing, it is important to highlight that a significant number were process-based actions which have embedded and established systems and cultures within departments which will continue beyond the lifetime of the NDIS. This kind of systemic change moves the dial from where we were and creates a new starting point for future action.

Examples of these kinds of actions include:

  • Developing links with other equality strategies aimed at identifying intersectional issues for people with disabilities relating to their gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity or migrant status.
  • Promoting the participation in third level education by persons with disabilities.
  • Developing initiatives to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities living in rural areas, including through remote working options.
  • Progressively make public transport accessible for people with disabilities and monitoring user experience of public transport and make recommendations as appropriate based on the findings.
  • The development and implementation of effective national joint working protocols between Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), disability services and education to ensure children and young people with disabilities can access CAMHS.

I am committed to continuing my support for disability rights and inclusion going forward as we develop, together with the input of people with disabilities and their representative organisations, the successor strategy to the National Disability Inclusion Strategy over the course of 2023.

Development of a successor strategy to the NDIS has been underway since June 2021. The new national disability strategy will also satisfy the Programme for Government commitment to develop a plan to coordinate continued implementation of the UNCRPD in Ireland. The development of the new national disability strategy is complex as it needs to provide the blueprint for further comprehensive realisation the UNCRPD. It needs time at development stage in order to produce the best possible blueprint for UNCRPD advancement.

My Department is conscious of the need to ensure that, in line with our UNCRPD obligations, the voices of people with disabilities and their representative organisations are informing the scope and focus of the strategy. The phrase ‘nothing about us without us’ is very important to the Government. Inclusive strategy development is the key to ensuring that we take action to address the challenges and barriers that would make the most significant difference in the lives of people with disabilities in Ireland.

All Government departments and agencies are responsible for implementing the UNCRPD, and action will continue in this regard while the new strategy is in development throughout 2023.