DFI to lead a strong and committed delegation to the Fifth European Parliament of Persons with Disabilities

May 12 2023, 02:31pm

John Dolan quote on EU

DFI will be leading a delegation to the Fifth European Parliament of Persons with Disabilities (EPPD) taking place in Brussels on Tuesday 23 May 2023.  

The European Parliament of Persons with Disabilities (EPPD) is a platform to discuss the rights of persons with disabilities and decide on the political demands of the European disability movement. The event takes place in the European Parliament in Brussels, usually one year ahead of the European Elections. 

Earlier this year, DFI put out a call for applications from persons with disabilities or with a lived experience of disability to be part of our delegation. We had 59 expressions of interest and are delighted to be able to bring a 13 strong delegation which will be led by DFI's CEO, John Dolan.  

 The delegation includes:  

  • Carolyn Akintola, a self-advocate from Dublin.   

  • Paul Alford, a self-advocate who has worked for Inclusion Ireland for 18 years. Paul lives in Navan.   

  • Fintan Bray, Down Syndrome Ireland.   

  • Adrian Carroll, AsIAm, Ireland's National Autism Charity. He is from Killarney, Co. Kerry, 

  • Joan Carthy, Irish Wheelchair Association.  

  • James Cawley, self-advocate from Longford.  

  • Macrine Clancy, Cathaoirleach of the Board of Polio Survivors Ireland.  

  • Catherine Cooper, disability activist and advocate attached to the CRC in Dublin.  

  • Lorraine Duffy, a self-advocate from Galway who lives with an acquired brain injury.  

  • Padraig Hannafin, Public Affairs Research Administrator for the Rehab Group in Ireland. 

  • Jeanne McDonagh, CEO of the Open Doors Initiative.    

  • Aoife Price, a disabled researcher, academic, and activist from Waterford. 

The theme for the event is “Building an inclusive future for persons with disabilities in the EU.” 

Delegates will be attending panels and plenary debates which will be taking place in the hemicycle of the European Parliament, on the following topics:  

  • Breaking barriers: free movement and full participation  

  • Fighting for our rights: combating inequality, social exclusion and poverty.  

  • Disability-inclusive resilience.  

John Dolan said, "The delegation is a strong and committed team of disabled persons with diverse perspectives and lived experience who will engage with their disabled colleagues from all member states. 

"The themes we will be looking at as part of the EPPD give us a very strong focus for our participation at the Parliament and more importantly for our work over the next year prior to the European Parliament Elections. We will be bringing the learnings back home to maximise the involvement of disability activists along with our membership over the next year."

He continued, "As we mark Europe Day today, it is timely to reflect on the importance of the EU as a defender and promoter of the human rights and dignity of disabled people. The EU is the only non-State entity across the world to have ratified the UN CRPD. This is significant. The EU has strongly and consistently shown its commitment to human rights and dignity – most recently in how it has responded to the war in Ukraine to what is happening to disabled Ukraniains and their families. This is a very different understanding of an EU that is often seen as something full of red tape and regulations. So much of the progressive workplace, economic and broader social developments in Ireland have come through our membership of the EU, a membership that is of critical importance for the future of disabled persons.”