This year’s theme: “Leave no one Behind” – UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

What: The 10th International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which coincides with the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)

When: Dec. 3rd 2016 - For immediate release

This year’s theme: “Leave no one Behind” – UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

Picture of Annie Byrne Picture of Vivian Rath

“I get €188 per week on disability allowance my rent is €25. I have to live on what’s left" - Annie

"I've never talked about my disability till the last year and a half. I had to remind myself to do it. My life has been all about ability" - Vivian

Ireland Last to Ratify UNCRPD – Are Irish People with Disabilities Being Left Behind?

The Disability Federation of Ireland mark this Dec. 3rd by asking some people with disabilities what it’s like to live in the last country in Europe to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disability.

 We look at the key areas of

  • employment
  • housing and
  • income support

and find government policy papers and good intentions alone do not change the lived experience for people.

We believe the continued foot dragging on ratification saps hope that our government is serious about finally ending exclusion.

TRANSPORT FACTS: More than 24% of people with disabilities lack access to private transport AND

 1 in 4 people with a disability do not use public transport for accessibility reasons.

(ESRI 2011)

 Michael is 27 and suffered a brain injury at 23 leaving him unable to drive. He lives in rural Ireland with no access to public transport.

“Lack of transport for me means the loss of my independence and a lack of choice.”

EMPLOYMENT FACT: 30% of people with a disability have a job compared to 62% of the overall population.

“Work is central to self-confidence and self-image for everyone” Rachel Creevy, 33 year old, graduate job seeker, wheel chair user.

HOUSING FACT: Ireland still has 3,000 people living in congregated setting and many more inappropriately placed in nursing homes.

“I’m on three housing area lists, respectively I’m numbers 11, 33 and 40. Despite medical need I haven’t moved up the lists since January. I hoped I’d be somewhere suitable by Christmas but with so many in emergency accommodation I’m told I haven’t a hope.” – Lorraine, partly sighted young woman in unsuitable accommodation. 

INCOME SUPPORT FACT: Additional costs of disability such as health care, assistance, aids and devices have been estimated to be a third of average weekly income.

“I get €188 per week on disability allowance my rent is €25. I have to live on what’s left. It’s very tight, like my doctor doesn’t realise it but every time he writes a prescription it costs me €2.50. I know he doesn’t realise it but say four prescriptions means €10 and that’s a lot to me”.  Annie, lives independently with Spina Bifita.

The Disability Federation of Ireland has an unrivalled overview of the disability sector and a dedicated policy and research unit. We believe that UNCRPD ratification is important because:

“The convention spells out for us that people with disabilities are entitled to the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. It's ratification will be a mile stone for Ireland showing that people with disabilities are equal citizens and will signal the intention of government to crack on with the full emancipation of disabled people in Ireland  said Senator John Dolan CEO, DFI.

"The fact that we haven’t yet ratified means we are sending a signal to people with disabilities and across society, that people with disabilities are separate, different and not fully equal Irish citizens” said Senator John Dolan CEO.

If you would like to delve deeper into these issues with DFI, or arrange interviews with those with lived experience of living with disability please contact: 

Clare Cronin at DFI 01-7080108, 086-0277824, email

Or Walter Young at 087-2471520, email



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