Disability Sector united in need for action on crisis

January 23 2020

Oireachtas Disability Group launch Election Manifesto 2020.

Members of the of the Oireachtas Disability Group, ODG, (See note to Editors, 1) launched their election manifesto today (Thursday 23) demanding a stop to worsening living conditions and services for people with disabilities.

As poverty levels for people with disabilities doubled in the last decade (to 24%) the Group stressed the need for immediate, all-government action to address the deepening crisis.   

In the past week and ahead of the election we can see a broad consensus forming that we cannot continue with business as usual for the 643,131 people with disabilities who have seen no improvement since the dark days of the recession.

From every angle and from all our perspectives there is a mounting crisis illustrated by the facts and asks below. (See note to Editors, 2)

We are also inviting the spokespeople from all the political parties to a National Disability Husting in the Mansion House on Friday, 31st to outline their vision to lead us out of crisis. On the same day the members of the Disability Action Coalition will hold regional husting all over the country.

There will be a Q & A session at all the hustings as we engage constructively with all candidates in a search for solutions.

The ODG want candidates and parties to address the following at a minimum;

  1. End disability poverty and unemployment.
  • 24% of adults with a disability live in consistent poverty, compared to 11% in 2011.[1]
  • Just 31% of working age people with a disability are at work, compared to 71% of the general population.[2]
  1. End the housing crisis facing people with disabilities.
  • 27% of the homeless population have a disability-double the rate of the general population.[3]
  • 2,136 people with disabilities remain living in residential institutions for people with disabilities.[4]
  • Over 1,400 people with disabilities under the age of 65 are inappropriately placed in nursing homes.[5]
  1. Ensure children with disabilities are fully included in the education system.
  2. Fund services and supports.
  • The Government’s own figures indicate an investment of €211 million p.a. for five years begin to address our commitments under UN CRPD.[6]
  • Disability services were informed of a €20m cut to their budgets in 2020.[7]
  • Only 0.3% of all people with disabilities get a Personal Assistance Service.7Currently, there is no legal right to personal assistance.
  1. Make disability rights a priority.
  • The Taoiseach’s Department should lead on disability
  • A Joint Oireachtas Committee must be established to implement the UN CRPD.

NOTES to Editors

  1. The Oireachtas Disability Group, (ODG) is a cross-party/non-party group of Dáil Deputies, Senators community and voluntary representatives from the disability sector. This statement is on behalf of the following members of the ODG: Disability Federation of Ireland, Inclusion Ireland, Independent Living Movement Ireland, and the National Federation of Voluntary Service Providers.
  2. The Ombudsman has issued a disability themed submission highlighting the many inequalities that need to be addressed by the next Oireachtas. For example, he calls for “funding for supported living needs to be placed on a statutory footing”.

The Irish Penal Reform Trust has said treatment of prisoners with disabilities is probably in contravention of the UN CRPD, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which we finally ratified in 2018.


Clare Cronin





[1] CSO (2017), Survey on Income and Living Conditions.

[2] ESRI (2017), Employment Transitions Among People with Disabilities in Ireland.

[3] Census 2016.

[4] HSE (2018), Time to Move on from Congregated Settings, A Strategy for Community Inclusion. Annual Progress Report.

[5] DCU and DFI (2018), The situation of younger people in nursing homes in Ireland- phase 1.

[6] HSE (2018), Transforming Lives: Report on the Future Needs for Disability Services, Working Group 1 estimates.

[7] HSE (2019), Service Plan 2020.