Anyone can acquire a disability at any point in life, or as we age - 'me today, is you tomorrow' - it is therefore everyone's business. 

May 22 2023, 08:54am

EDF delegates

As one of the national members of the European Disability Forum (EDF), DFI will be leading a delegation to the Fifth European Parliament of Persons with Disabilities (EPPD) taking place in Brussels tomorrow Tuesday 23 May 2023.   

DFI are delighted to be able to bring a 13 strong delegation which will be led by our 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.  
  • Macrina 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 Irish delegates to the EPPD will be asking Irish MEPs to be an ally and to take a human rights approach to realise the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) in their role as political representatives in Europe. The Irish delegation feels strongly that disability rights are everyone's concern. Anyone can acquire a disability at any point in life, or as we age - 'me today, is you tomorrow' - it is therefore everyone's business. 

Themes and Topics for EPPD 2023  

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.  

Each national delegation will also have the chance to contribute on the day.  

Commenting as the delegation was announced, 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."

The European Parliament of Persons with Disabilities 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.

Delegations from each Member State of the European Union will be present. 700 disability advocates, policymakers and other stakeholders are expected to attend on the day.   

The draft agenda for the event is available here.  

As the event is invitation-only, given the space constraints of the hemicycle, arrangements are in place for accessible live streaming of the events.