Shining a spotlight on disability with #PurpleLights23 on International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Sunday 3 December 

December 1 2023

Arklow Bridge

The countdown is underway to this year's International Day of Persons with Disabilities and the Purple Lights campaign which will take place next Sunday 3 December.

The Purple Lights campaign sees Government buildings local and national, major companies, civic and educational institutions turning purple to celebrate the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3rd. 

Speaking about #PurpleLights23, the campaign’s founder, disability activist Gary Kearney said, “As a person who acquired my disabilities in my 40s, I found it extremely hard to come to terms with my new life. Becoming disabled never came into my head. It took years and a lot of work to come to terms with everything.

“Purple Lights is a day of celebration, inclusion and awareness. For me personally, it is a way of celebrating my disabled life and the people I have met along my journey. Disabled people deserve to be recognised and celebrated for who we. We don’t want to be pitied or applauded as inspirational – we just want to be seen as people! That is why I celebrate the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities as I am proud of who I am and what I have achieved, so far.”

Quite a few landmark buildings and venues will be turning purple again this year including the Mansion House in Dublin, The Convention Centre, Busaurus, the Customs House, the National Concert all, the Rock of Cashel, Cork City Hall, Dublin Bus HQ and Trinity College, Dublin. White’s Bridge in Athlone and the bridge in Arklow, Co Wicklow are also illuminated in purple as is the Naas Ball. Kerry County Council will also be illuminating a number of their buildings in purple. Venues across South County Dublin and across Kildare are also lighting up in purple for their annual Disability Awareness Week which coincides with #IDPwD and #PurpleLights. The Aldi Distribution Centres in Mitchelstown, Co Cork and Naas, Co Kildare will be lit up too, along with the Kerry Group Building in Naas. 

More landmarks and buildings are being added to the list daily. There are also some buses wrapped in purple in Galway, Dublin and Cork and Iarnrod Eireann will also be supporting #PurpleLights this year with awareness raising information in train stations. 

DFI's flagship event for International Day of Persons with Disabilities took place in Cork City yesterday on the theme of 'Making Advocacy Real'. The event saw DFI member organisations gathering together to work towards the development of a DFI Toolkit on self-advocacy. 

You can follow the campaign on social media on the hashtags #PurpleLights23 and #IDPwD23.

Notes to editors:

  • The annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) on 3 December was proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3. The observance of the Day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilise support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.  
  • Photos are available from yesterday's event on request. 
  • Follow us on social media for more on #PurpleLights23 and #IDPwD23 Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Tik Tok 


For media contact:

Brenda Drumm, Communications Manager, Disability Federation of Ireland, 086 076 4114 

Photo: The Bridge in Arklow Co Wicklow