Ireland ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in 2018 and continues to progressively realise its obligations under the Convention.
In progressively realising the obligations arising from Article 4(3) of the UNCRPD, my Department funded the development of the Disability Participation and Consultation Network (DPCN). It was formed in late 2020 to build capacity within the disability community so that people with disabilities and their representative organisations can participate fully in the development of policies and programmes.
One of the Disability Participation and Consultation Network’s first tasks has been to bring the voices of people with disabilities into consultations on Ireland’s first State Report to the UN on our progress in implementing the Convention. The Disability Participation and Consultation Network facilitated a consultation process amongst its membership to complete that task and I expect that they will continue to feed into policy-making across Departments.
In addition to capacity building via the DPCN, the Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Disability, Ms. Anne Rabbitte TD, launched a new annual Disability Participation and Awareness Fund (DPAF) on 18 October this year.
In this first year of the Fund, resourcing is being provided through the local authority system in order to focus efforts and build capacity at local and community level. It is intended that the 2021 Fund will inform a further funding call in 2022, and in that regard I note the Deputy's suggestions regarding core funding.
Under DPAF 2021, it is open for community and local organisations, including DPOs, to partner with local authorities and bring forward proposals that will support the participation of people with disabilities in local activities, to help remove barriers to community involvement, and to support the promotion and implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in communities.
A total of €2.5m will be made available in 2021 to Local Authorities to fund projects in their local area. Grants under the Fund will be to a maximum of €80,000.
This funding can be used for both once-off initiatives and short to medium term projects. Projects and initiatives should promote the rights of people with disabilities by removing barriers to the participation of people with disabilities in their local communities, raising awareness of the UNCRPD, and increasing accessibility.