Policy and Advocacy
An introduction to DFI’s Policy work
DFI’s policy and advocacy work aims to promote and support progress towards full implementation of the UN CRPD, through detailed policy analysis and advocacy on critical issues impacting on the rights of disabled people. Our work is informed by DFI member concerns, and those of the people with disabilities they work to support. It is anchored in a rights, evidence-based, and community participation perspective. We provide broad policy analysis on disability in Ireland, given the breadth of our membership. We also work in depth on certain key advocacy issues to push for positive change regarding the barriers to inclusion and participation that disabled people experience in Ireland.
What we do
- Provide policy analysis: Analyse policy developments, and publish policy recommendations, including submissions, briefing and position papers.
- Advocate on disability issues: Advocate for policy change and implementation – to the Oireachtas, the government and to Departments, public bodies and policy-makers.
- Raise disability in the Oireachtas: Support the Oireachtas in its role of legislating and examining public policy – through presentations, submissions, parliamentary questions, lobbying etc.
- Bring disability to broader rights movement and networks: Provide a disability perspective in various civil society alliances and networks, including being the disability organisation in the Community & Voluntary Pillar.
- Amplify and channel our membership’s policy concerns and provide a feedback loop through our representation and advocacy.
- Raise public awareness of and communicate about disability concerns in media and social media.
- Collaborate and build relationships with others, including disabled people, self-advocates, other disability and civil society organisations.
The issues we focus on
Since 2022, our key areas of policy and advocacy focus have been:
How and where we do it
We work at multiple levels to promote the full implementation of the UN CRPD in Ireland. Our policy work engages at international, European, national, regional, and local level.
- UN structures - including UN CRPD Conference of State Parties (COSP)
- EU structures – We are the Irish member of the European Disability Forum (EDF) and a member of the European Association of Service Providers (EASPD). In 2023 we led the Irish delegation to the 5th European Parliament of Persons with Disabilities.
- DFI undertakes representation to Government Departments and Committees on key issues – in particular our core areas of focus: UN CRPD, Housing, and Poverty and the Cost of Disability.
- DFI has a seat on the Disability Stakeholders Group, which monitors the implementation of the National Disability Inclusion Strategy (NDIS) through the NDIS Steering Group.
- Budget cycle advocacy and analysis: Tracking and advocating for disability in the annual Budget Cycle and the EU Semester Process.
- Oireachtas engagement, in particular through the Oireachtas Disability Group (ODG). The ODG is an alliance of six disability umbrella organisations, we include and represent a broad understanding of the disability sector and movement.This includes advocacy to with Ministers, political parties, the Disability Matters Committee, other Oireachtas committees and Oireachtas members.
- Coordination and joint advocacy with disability organisations – through the ODG and on thematic issues.
- Active participation in the Disability Participation and Consultation Network (DPCN).
- Being the disability voice in the Community & Voluntary (C&V) Pillar.
- Participating in broader policy networks and highlighting disability concerns (see list of networks below)
- Local and community
- Link to community page.
List of key networks that DFI is an active member of
- Better Europe Alliance
- Coalition 2030
- Community and Voluntary Pillar
- Children’s Rights Alliance
- Disability Participation and Consultation Network
- European Anti-Poverty Network
- Irish Council for Social Housing
- Oireachtas Disability Group
- Social Policy Network
- Think Housing, Build Accessible Coalition
- The Wheel
How to Get Involved
The policy team reaches out to members through the monthly News Update and our Quarterly Members Policy and Advocacy Forum. To learn more about this and our ongoing work, and to get involved, drop a line to Fleachta Phelan.