Wednesday, 28 January 2004

Questions (191)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

308 Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will list and describe the initiatives taken by his Department during the European Year of People with Disabilities; the cost of each initiative; and the way in which each initiative has concretely improved the lives of Irish people with disabilities. [2443/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform)

The European Year of People with Disabilities 2003, EYPD, was established by a decision of the Council of the European Union — 2001/903/EC — on 3 December 2001. The key aim of the European Year of People with Disabilities has been to create awareness about disability issues among the general public and of the rights of people with disabilities to equal opportunities and protection against discrimination. The Council decision recognised that while different forms of disability exist, people with disabilities are a heterogeneous group. It also emphasised the following areas, with a specific disability focus: consideration of measures to facilitate equality; exchange of good practice; enhancement of co-operation between public, private, NGO and voluntary sectors; improving communications; forms of multiple discrimination; and the needs of children and young people, especially in an educational context.

The National Disability Authority, NDA, was designated as the national co-ordinating body for EYPD in Ireland. A National Co-ordinating Committee, NCC, for EYPD in Ireland was established, chaired by the NDA. It includedover 20 members representing disability interest groups, the social partners, the Equality Authority, relevant Departments and themedia.

Bearing in mind the overall objectives, and after consultation with interested parties, the NCC decided to adopt four themes for the year in Ireland. These were awareness; youth and disability; rights, responsibilities and partnership; and employment. The NDA administered funding for activities for the year which amounted to just over €1.5 million. This amount was used to finance a wide range of projects as well as promotional, advertising and administrative costs. The total fund includes a sum of €250,000 in EU contributions and a sum of €500,000, allocated by the Department of the Taoiseach, to be spent on special flagship projects. Seven projects were chosen to receive the flagship funding and the NCC approved a further €500,000 for 45 projects based on the four agreed themes.

To mark the year, my Department has funded, and co-funded, some other specific initiatives. These are listed in the table as follows:

Project

Cost

Advertising Campaign on radio/TV (3 phases)

376,448.19

A New Sensory Garden in the National Botanic Gardens, Dublin

67,421.19

Disability Supplement — RTE Guide

24,200.00

Design for All Exhibition (co-funded with the OPW) — which toured nationwide

218,764.00

Cork International Film Festival Filmmakers with Disabilities Showcase

5,945.00

PwDI/ Artists and Disability Ireland Calendar

29,000.00

PwDI Youth — Beyond Disability Seminars held in October/November, 2002

89,611.58

Development of PwDI accessible website

21,726.76

PwDI Youth — Beyond Disability International Conference held in September, 2003

52,111.11

From the Outside In (Animo Television for RTE — four programmes broadcast in December, 2003)

184,117.43

Total

1,069,345.26

I believe all of these initiatives have contributed significantly to fulfilling the objectives of awareness raising, enhancing co-operation with the NGO sector, supporting good practice and facilitating equality. An indication of the heightened awareness which has been achieved is the fact that almost 250,000 people watched the final episode of "From the Outside In" when it was broadcast on the Monday before Christmas. I expect that these projects, together with initiatives funded by the NCC, will support continued progress towards equality for people with disabilities.

Question No. 309 answered with QuestionNo. 306.