Promoting disability inclusion in Ireland's development policy

Members of the Dochas Disability Inclusion Working Group with Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs & Trade and Defence

Members of the Dochas Disability Inclusion Working Group with Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs & Trade and Defence

Dóchas Disability in International Development Working Group (DDIDWG) presented to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs & Trade and Defence on 2nd July at the Dáil, on the importance of disability inclusion in Ireland.  

As a member of the Dóchas Disability in International Development Working Group (DDIDWG), and in compliance with one of the groups’ main objectives of influencing Irish Aid and other state organisations, decision makers and policy makers to take action to integrate disability as a key issue for future development interventions and funding, CBM Ireland took an active and participative role on the day.   

Dóchas representatives and working group members present on the day were CBM Director of Disability Inclusive Development (DID) Mary Keogh,  Sightsavers ireland CEO Charlie Lamson,  Sightsavers Regional Director for West Africa  Fatoumata Diouf, and Programme Director Oxfam Ireland Niamh Carty.  

 First, each of the members of the Dóchas working group presented their statements reflecting current issues, recommendations and concerns on the promotion of disability inclusion in Irish development policy.  

After the presentations, a space for questions and answers was opened. Each of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs & Trade and Defence members inquired about different topics and made insightful comments related to the history of Ireland’s involvement in disability international development, as well as current concerns on disability inclusion that could influence the way forward.  

Highlights of the meeting were: 

  • Encouragement to the Irish government in supporting the full implementation of its domestic policies such as A Better World combined with Ireland’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).  

  • At the global scenario, support the implementation of the recently launched UN Disability Inclusion Strategy at 2019 Conference of States Parties to the UNCRPD and use its membership of the Global Action on Disability Network (GLAD) to support global initiatives. 

  • Need for increasing support to the Irish Civil Society on its demand to foster DID into their programmes. 

  • The Committee acknowledged the need for the Irish government to add disability into the priority list, and to continue advocating for allocating specific resources for disability into government budgets. 

  • Call for Irish government to support an integrated approach to the collection of data on disability in both development and humanitarian assistance that commits to the collection of disability disaggregated data, research and learning, and reports including adoption of the DAC Disability Marker. 

  • The committee expressed interest in exploring structures and practical steps to successfully guide disability mainstreaming into policies. Dóchas working members acknowledge current advocacy efforts are focus on hardwiring disability into the Framework for Action. 

  • All organizations shared the importance on fostering the involvement of people with disabilities in conversations that are for them. Empower, provide training, advocacy skills for Disability People Organizations (DPOs) to take the lead, active and valuable roles based on their unique insight on matters that are concerning to them.  

  • Concerns were expressed on the level of vulnerability that women with disability have, being three to four times more likely of suffering gender violence. Female representation in DPOs as well as Irish Aid support in programmes designed to tackle these issues are fundamental.  

  • Dóchas working group requested support from Irish Aid to Ensure sustainability on projects tackling disability issues was highlighted as one of the most crucial matters. 

Finally, the Committee expressed they stand in solidarity with people with disabilities and the movement. Chair of the Committee, TD Brendan Smith, closed the session by stating everything said at the meeting will be raised to the department of Irish Aid to enhance current mainstreaming of disability into domestic and international policies.