The National Disability Strategy was launched by Government in September 2004 and underpins the participation of people with disabilities in Irish society by building on existing policy and legislation. The implementation of the Strategy continues to be the focus of Government policy. Key elements include the Disability Act 2005, the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004, the Citizens Information Act 2007 and the Sectoral Plans of six Departments which set out how they will deliver services to people with disabilities.
In line with the Programme for Government commitment a National Disability Strategy Implementation Plan (NDSIP) was published in July 2013, the first such implementation plan to be put in place since the launch of the Strategy in 2004. The Implementation Plan was developed with the identification by Departments of actions, timelines and key performance indicators. Significant discussion was undertaken between the disability stakeholders and Government Departments to reach agreement on the suite of actions contained in the Plan. The Plan sets out the practical measures across all Government Departments that will be taken to advance the Strategy and ensure that available resources are used to best effect and that the needs of those we consider a priority continue to be addressed.
Progress on the Implementation Plan is reviewed by the National Disability Strategy Implementation Group (NDSIG) through thematic meetings which deal with specific issues. Such meetings are attended by all relevant bodies to ensure cross-sectoral input and review. All actions in the Plan relevant to the chosen issue are discussed and the progress made is mapped against commitments in the Plan. Two such thematic meetings were held in quarter 4 of 2013 and focused on the themes of Irish Sign Language and Housing.