Ireland ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in March 2018. The Government’s approach to meeting the terms of the UNCRPD, which came into force for Ireland in April 2018, is one of sustained and on-going improvement. Work is continuing on the reforms needed in this regard.
The National Disability Inclusion Strategy (NDIS) 2017 – 2021 contains a wide range of practical commitments to improve the position of people with disabilities. It provides a mechanism for joined-up working to deliver on Ireland’s commitments to implementing the UNCRPD; and the NDIS Steering Group, which oversees and monitors the implementation of the Strategy, will have an important role in guiding progress in this area. The Group is currently undertaking a mid-term review of the Strategy and examining how it can support the implementation and progressive realisation of key obligations under the CRPD. The National Disability Authority (NDA) will also play a critical part in the implementation of the Convention, and will be carrying out a review of progress with respect to the Strategy’s key indicators in this regard.
Ireland is unique in having a statutory Centre for Excellence for Universal Design, which has functions to promote universal design of the built environment, products, services and ICT so that they can be easily accessed, used and understood by everyone regardless of their age, size, ability and disability. Universal design while it applies to the population in general, is particularly important for persons with disabilities and older persons. The Centre advise on standards in this regard and to promote their adoption, and supports a number of advisory committees in working with the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) in this regard. The Centre engages with many stakeholders in relation to age, disability, varying abilities and size, as well as government departments and agencies, professional and educational bodies, designers, planners, architects and others to progress and understanding and adoption of universal design in practice.
The work of the Centre will be helpful in enabling Ireland to progressing its compliance with the UNCRPD which requires research and development of universally designed goods, services equipment and facilities, which require the minimum possible adaption and the least cost, promoting their availability and use, and promoting universal design in the development of standards and guidelines. Any further actions in this regard will be considered in the context of a national action plan for continued progressive implementation of the Convention.