National Disability Strategy Implementation Plan 2013-2015

Department of Justice and Equality

Disability policy in ROI remains largely as set out in the National Disability Strategy which was published in 2004. The Disability Act 2005 and the Citizens Information Act 2007, which are legislative parts of the strategy, have been passed but have not been fully implemented.

The National Housing Strategy for People with a Disability (2011), the Value for Money Review of Disability Services in Ireland (2012) and the allied Report of Disability Policy Review by the Expert Reference Group (2011) are among the key reports published in 2011 and 2012 that signalled new directions for disability policy and significant changes in how disability support services are to be delivered in ROI. The National Implementation Framework for the recommendations of the Value for Money and Policy Review of the Disability Services Programme provides a mechanism for the implementation of significant change in disability services as does the National Disability Strategy Implementation Plan published in 2013, which sets out the practical measures that will be taken to advance the National Disability Strategy over the period 2013 to 2015. The latter strategy aims to promote an inclusive Irish society where people with disabilities can reach their full potential and participate in the everyday life of the community. Four High Level Goals (Equal citizens, Independence and choice, Participation, Maximising potential) were agreed by the National Disability Strategy Implementation Group (NDSIG), with key actions under each goal and objective. While there is no explicit mention of dementia in the Implementation Plan, one of the high level goals of the plan is that people with disabilities are free from discrimination and treated as equal citizens by their fellow citizens and this applies equally to all people with a disability including those affected by dementia.

Aspects of the NDSIP that exemplify relevance to people with dementia include:

  • Publication and enactment of the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Bill to give full legal capacity to people with disabilities.

  • Provision of disability awareness training by public transport operators to their staff and management.

  • Improved accessibility of public buildings and facilities.

  • Support for the provision of advocacy services for persons with disabilities and mental health difficulties.

  • Support for new models of respite support.

  • Development of policy guidelines to improve access for people with disabilities in relation to public roads and pedestrian facilities.

  • Development of a protocol for strategic assessment of nature and extent of housing needs of persons with disabilities.

  • Encouragement of service providers to develop health promotion programmes for persons with disabilities.

  • Support for sports partnership, Age Friendly and Social Inclusion programmes to assist people with disabilities to engage in activities, including through requirement of funding for programmes such as Sports Capital Grants.

National Housing Strategy for People with a Disability 2011-2016

Department of Environment, Community and Local Government

The National Housing Strategy for People with a Disability 2011-2016 sets out nine strategic aims including “to promote and mainstream equality of access for people with a disability to the full range of housing options suited to individual and household need” and “to support people with a disabi

lity to live independently in their own houses and communities”. The latter is in keeping with a key objective of the Irish National Dementia Strategy, which states that “people with dementia should be facilitated to remain living in their own homes and to maintain existing roles and relationships for as long as possible” (2014: 24). The National Housing Strategy for People with a Disability supports the Programme for Government commitment to promote and support universal design, particularly to ensure accessible housing. It states that ’technology can assist people with dementia, in association with safe and well-designed living spaces, to live as independently as possible’ (2014: 95). 

A Strategy to Improve the Lives of People with Disabilities 2012-2015

Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister

Addressing their responsibility to deliver the commitments in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities this policy was also informed by the recommendations of the Promoting Social Inclusion (PSI) Working Group’s report on Disability.

The strategy addresses a series of cross cutting themes (e.g. participation and active citizenship, awareness raising, independent living/choice and control).

While dementia is not referred to specifically, the theme addressing transition from adulthood to later life recognises that many areas of public service do not distinguish between growing old and acquiring a disability and that the prevalence of disability in those aged between 60 and 74 is four times that in those aged between 26 and 44 (Northern Ireland Survey of people with Activity Limitations (NISALD)). The strategy argues that older people with disabilities should be supported in addressing their needs so that they have the same opportunities as older people who do not have a disability.