DFI's Submission to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth on the Consultation on the Review of Equality Acts

Issued on December 9 2021

The Disability Federation of Ireland, DFI, welcomes the opportunity to contribute to this
consultation on equality legislation in Ireland. We hope to continue to be part of the
process of updating and improving equality legislation, and ensuring that the legislation
serves the interests of all people facing discrimination in Ireland. DFI is an umbrella
organisation with over 120 member organisation, representing disability organisation
across Ireland. This submission is based on consultation with our members, as well as
our own experiences and research.
Before moving on to the issues raised by legislation currently under review, we would
like to raise a few general points about equality for people with disabilities:
• 27% of the homeless population have a disability, double the rate among
the general population.
• 43% of people with disabilities reported depression in 2019, a rate three
times higher than the national average of 14%
• The extra cost of disability has previously been estimated to be an
average of €207 a week2
. That is an amount €4 more than the weekly
Disability Allowance payment.
• Research conducted by IHREC and the ESRI has shown that, in public
services, that people with disabilities were three times more likely to
experience discrimination compared to those without disabilities.1
Our key recommendations to improve equality legislation in Ireland are:
• Improve the definition of disability to reflect the social model of disability
• Raise the standard for reasonable accommodation in Ireland, in line with the UN
• Address the inequalities caused by the exemption for insurance in the Equal
Status Act
• Improve the accessibility of the Workplace Relations Commission
• Add the tenth ground, socioeconomic status, to equality legislation
• Raise awareness of equality legislation and other measure among employers
While we welcome the review of the current legislation, particularly the Equal Status Act
and the Employment Equality Act, it is very important to remember that people with
disabilities rely on many policies and pieces of legislation to live equal lives.