National Disability Hustings on National Disability Day of Action

January 31 2020



The Oireachtas Disability Group Demands an end to Disability Poverty

Politicians from all parties have accepted invitations to the National Disability Hustings taking place a 11am today (Friday 31 Jan) in the Oak Room at the Mansion House. The event will be Chaired by Joe Little, formerly of RTÉ, who will conduct a Q & A session seeking constructive engagement with all candidates in search of solutions.


Having launched its election manifesto on Thursday 23rd January, members of the Oireachtas Disability Group, ODG are holding The National Disability Husting to outline its vision to lead people with disabilities out of crisis. 


  • End disability poverty and unemployment.
  • End the housing crisis facing people with disabilities.
  • Ensure children with disabilities are fully included in the education system.
  • Fund services and supports.
  • Make disability rights a priority.


The organisation is 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, Government action to address the deepening crisis.  The State 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. 


Friday 31 January 2020 is the National Disability Day of Action.  Regional hustings are taking place around the country, being organised by the Disability Action Coalition.


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. 

The Oireachtas Disability Group will be represented by:

  • Enda Egan, CEO, Inclusion Ireland
  • Dr Joanne McCarthy, Director of Policy, Advocacy and Engagements, Disability Federation of Ireland 
  • Alison Harnett, Interim Manager, National Federation of Voluntary Service Providers 
  • James Cawley, Policy Officer, Independent Living Movement Ireland


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


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 


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


Ensure children with disabilities are fully included in the education system.

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.7 Currently, there is no legal right to personal assistance.


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.


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.