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Publication of the Disability Capacity Review : Inclusion Ireland calls for the Government to go Beyond Addressing Urgent Needs

Inclusion Ireland welcomes the publication the Disability Capacity Review to 2032 – A Review of Social Care Demand and Capacity Requirements to 2032 which was published today 15th July 2021 and calls on action after the review to go beyond only addressing urgent and emergency needs.  You can also find an Easy to Read version of the review here

Inclusion Ireland has long campaigned for the publication of this  review which gives sobering details about how much it will cost to resource disability support services between now and 2032. The report quantifies these costs considering expected population change and current unmet needs . In the short term there will be a Framework Action Plan from 2022-2025 to begin implementation of recommendations, which is included in the Programme for Government.

According to the review there will need to be a spend of between 550million extra euro and 1 billion extra euro each year to meet the needs of the growing and ageing population of people with disabilities in Ireland between now and 2032.

Lorraine Dempsey Interim CEO of Inclusion Ireland says: “We welcome the publication of the Disability Capacity Review to 2032. It shows the historical underspend and the significant unmet needs of people with disabilities in Ireland. Any investment in disability support services now and into the future needs to be personalised and person centred in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. (UNCRPD)”.

Ms Dempsey continues “The Disability Capacity Review allows us to get to a position where we can have consistent budgetary planning with multiannual funding which addresses the needs of people with disabilities without resorting to situations becoming urgent or at an emergency level.  We need to go beyond addressing urgent needs to a level of services and supports where people with disabilities have all their needs met so that their human rights can be fully realised. It is critical that investment begins immediately and the costs for 2022 need to be included in the estimates for Budget 2022 which are currently being developed by Government Ministers. The review needs to be more than a report on a shelf and Inclusion Ireland looks forward to working closely with government departments and agencies to ensure its actions become reality”.


For further information please contact Lorraine Dempsey Interim CEO of Inclusion Ireland on 087 7741917 or email

You can find links to the review documents here on the government publications page






Government Summer Programme ‘heading for complete failure’

Root and branch review of ‘July Provision’ needed

Inclusion Ireland said today that the Government’s enhanced Summer Programme for children with additional educational needs will not serve the needs of many children amid low take-up among schools, difficulty for parents in sourcing home tutors, and the exclusion of children with mild intellectual disabilities in mainstream education from the scheme. Yet again, the Department delayed announcing the details of the Summer Programme until mid May, which has impacted on time for school planning and parent’s ability to source tutors.

Speaking following a meeting with the Department of Education, Lorraine Dempsey, interim CEO, Inclusion Ireland, said that progress on the issue had been extremely disappointing, that the Government and Department must redouble their engagement with the education sector to overcome the barriers holding back the scheme this year, and a complete review of July Provision was needed going forward.

“We’re extremely disappointed with progress on the Summer Programme for children with additional educational needs, and the scheme as it is, does little to ensure that children with mild intellectual disabilities and those with the highest support needs can benefit, unless something radical changes. We’ve heard reports of extremely low take-up among schools, real difficulties among parents in sourcing home-based tutors, the exclusion of children with mild intellectual disabilities in mainstream education, and, most worryingly, anecdotal evidence of the exclusion of children with high support needs from the scheme by schools and tutors.

“Children with additional needs have really lost out again this year, and it’s vital that the Department makes every effort to ensure the success of this scheme, which provides additional support to our most vulnerable students. They must leave no stone unturned to facilitate the uptake by schools and home tutors.

“In the longer term, we need a root and branch review of July Provision and the Summer Programme, because these issues are arising year after year, time and again and they need to be systematically addressed. We need to see long term planning for our children’s education, and avoid schemes being developed and announced last minute, like this year.

“Ultimately, it’s children with additional educational needs and their families who are suffering here. It is absolutely incumbent on the Department that 2021 is the last year we see this scramble around the provision of additional summer education services.”

Paul Alford to speak at 12th International Disability Law Summer School

Inclusion Ireland are delighted that Paul Alford is to speak at the 12th International Disability Law Summer School, which will take place online via Zoom from 31 May – 2 July 2021.

In its first-ever online incarnation, the summer school will take place over 5 weeks, from 31 May to 2 July. The programme has been designed to allow participants to dip in and out of the material based on their availability throughout these weeks, and contains a mixture of specially pre-recorded content, live panel discussions with opportunities for Q&A and interactive events (including comedy sets, a storytelling event, and a DJ’d dance party). Participants will receive an email each Monday with pre-recorded videos, live panel discussions will take place each Wednesday from 2-4pm Irish time, and the interactive and group activities will take place on Thursdays and Fridays (each lasting no more than 2 hours).

Each week will address a different theme, including Article 30 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, voices of disabled people in media, disabled people as artists and creators, sport, leisure & play, and access to the arts.

Paul will speak in week two of the event, which focuses on the Stories and Representations of Disabled People.

Wednesday 9th June 2021 14.00 – 16.00 Irish time 

Live session: Writing our own stories  

Chair               Shreya Anasuya, Skin Stories

Panel               Talila “TL” Lewis, HEARD & Freedom Mapping LLC, Paul Alford, Inclusion Ireland, Reshma Valliappan, The Red Door

For full details and sign up, click here.

Full programme available to download below.

Children with disabilities ‘up to three times more likely to be bullied’, Inclusion Ireland tells Oireachtas Committee

Children with disabilities are up to three times more likely to be bullied, and up to six times more likely to experience violence or abuse than their peers, Inclusion Ireland has told the Oireachtas Education Committee.

Inclusion Ireland, the National Association for People with an Intellectual Disability, told the Oireachtas hearing examining bullying and the impacts of bullying on mental health, that 35-40% of children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities have mental health problems, and that significant work was needed to change societal attitudes towards intellectual disabilities.

Speaking at the hearing Mark O’Connor, Community Engagement Manager with Inclusion Ireland, said: “The statistics, when it comes to children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities, are stark, and there is no way to sugar coat them. Children with disabilities are two to three times more likely to be bullied, and six times more likely to experience violence or abuse that their peers. 35-40% of children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities experience mental health problems – this is five times greater than the general population. At the same time, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Intellectual Disability (ID) services are almost non-existent.

“We need targeted interventions in this area, as well as a public awareness campaign to shift public attitudes towards people with an intellectual disability. When 28% of people surveyed by the National Disability Authority say that children with a disability or autism shouldn’t be allowed attend mainstream education, you have a real problem with societal attitudes.”

Inclusion Ireland called for the following interventions to tackle the issue:

  • The Government must engage in a public awareness campaign on reducing the stigma around disability
  • The government must invest in inclusive education. This results in better short- and longer-term social outcomes for children with additional needs; such as in maintaining positive peer relationships and better social development
  • Continue the improvement of therapeutic supports by providing speech and language and occupational therapy within ‘educational settings’
  • Invest in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) especially CAMHS ID.


Inclusion Ireland’s submission to the Education Committee can be found here.

DPCN Response to Ireland’s Draft State Report under the UNCRPD

Consultations were held in March to give DPCN members an opportunity to have their say on the State’s Draft Report under the CRPD. Following the consultations a Report was written and submitted to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY).

Thank you to all the members who participated in the consultation sessions.

The Report is available here along with a summary in Easy to Read here.

Watch the video version, with sign language interpretation, below.

INVITE: Focus Group – Interacting with new Decision Support Service

Focus Group – Interacting with new Decision Support Service

Venue: At home – online by Zoom
Date: Thursday 28th April 2021 Time: 11am – 1pm

The Assisted Decision-Making Act was passed in 2015. Under this Act the Decision Support Service is to be established. The Decision Support Service want to hear from you about decision-making and how you might interact with this new service.

Inclusion Ireland with the support of ASIAM are hosing a focus group for 8-10 autistic adults to get your views on decision-making. Participants will receive a stipend payment for their time.

Registration: To register and for link to the event please contact Alex Kearney at Inclusion Ireland at or telephone 01-8559891.

We will have easy-to-read information on assisted decision-making and you may also find out more here.

Failure to commence 17-year-old EPSEN Act negatively impacting children with disabilities, Inclusion Ireland to tell Oireachtas Committee

Key education rights for disabled children, legislated for in the EPSEN Act 2004, have not been brought into effect after 17 years, according to Inclusion Ireland – the National Association for People with an Intellectual Disability.

Speaking at the Oireachtas Education Committee tomorrow, Inclusion Ireland will outline how the right to an education assessment of needs, the development of an individual education plan (IEP) based on assessment, the delivery of the education supports detailed in the plan, and an independent appeal process, all legislated for in 2004, have still not been commenced.

Speaking ahead of the Committee appearance, Lorraine Dempsey, interim CEO of Inclusion Ireland, said: “When the EPSEN Act was passed in 2004 as a central pillar of the National Disability Strategy it was seen as ground-breaking in putting inclusive education on a statutory footing and providing for children to have their education needs assessed and met.

“The EPSEN Act not only promises educational equality, but also a legal obligation to deliver that education in mainstream settings where possible. 17 years after the Act has been passed the main pieces of the Act that benefit disabled children have yet to be commenced.

“In short, this means a child with a special education need does not have a legal right to an assessment of their education needs and have these identified needs addressed through an Inclusive Education Plan. Parents have no legal right to have an input into the IEP.

“Because the Act has not been implemented, children’s rights are at the whim of policy makers, changes in government, funding priorities and other factors. This needs to change, and the EPSEN Act fully commenced. We look forward to engaging with the Committee on these important issues.”

Inclusion Ireland made a number of recommendations to the Committee in their submission document, including:

  • Review and commence the EPSEN Act.
  • Put forward a multi-annual, fully costed plan for moving towards an inclusive education model of education.
  • Invest in teaching and special needs assistant resources. Class sizes need to get below 20 pupils at a minimum.
  • Ensure initial teacher training has a more robust inclusive education component and that all current teachers without continuous professional development in special education are freed up to complete mandatory training on this subject.
  • Schools must be supported by fully resourced mental health and disability teams.
  • Schools must be fully accessible physically, include sensory spaces and be designed with sensory processing in mind.
  • Engage all stakeholders in the process of developing an inclusive model to include families, educators, therapists, pupils, etc.
  • Launch a campaign to address many of the negative attitudes that exist around disability in Ireland as a sizable minority of the population does not see mainstream schools as the place for disabled children.

Inclusion Ireland’s submission to the Committee can be found here.

Watch Margaret Turley speak at the Committee below.

Lack of co-ordination between health and housing authorities preventing people with disabilities accepting offers of housing, Inclusion Ireland tells Oireachtas Committee

People with disabilities are losing out on housing opportunities due to a lack of co-ordination between health and housing authorities, Inclusion Ireland told the Oireachtas Committee on Disability Matters today.

Many people with intellectual disabilities require a package of supports to be made available to facilitate independent living. Without an offer of support, many people are losing out when offered social housing.

Speaking to the Committee, Lorraine Dempsey, interim CEO of Inclusion Ireland, said that despite a Government policy to end congregated living for people with disabilities by 2018, thousands are stuck in congregated living settings due to a lack of supports.

“One of the biggest barriers faced by people with intellectual disabilities in accessing accessible social housing is the lack of availability of support services that are required to live in their own home.  For people who need supports in their home they have no clear pathway of applying for these supports. Through our advocacy work we have found that many people report being highly placed on social housing waiting lists due to their disability but then cannot live in a local authority home due to support services not being available to facilitate them living there. This must be addressed.

“The Government policy ‘Time to Move on from Congregated Settings’ was clear in recommending that all congregated settings would be closed by 2018. This has not happened. In total 8,300 people live in residential services and an additional 1,500 people with a disability under the age of 65 live in nursing homes. According to HIQA these figures include up to 2,900 living in congregated settings. The UNCRPD is clear in its opposition to institutional living and on the right of persons with disabilities to a life in the community.

“It is imperative that the Irish State ceases with the continued use of institutions which are a clear breach of domestic and international rights and increases funding to accelerate the deinstitutionalisation process.”

Inclusion Ireland raised a number of issues affecting people with intellectual disabilities at the Committee hearing, including the need to ratify the optional protocol of the UNCRPD, and the need for enhanced specialised intellectual disability mental health services post-Covid, and the importance of fully commencing the Assisted Decision Making Act by funding the Decision Support Service – the continued failure to fully commence the Act has meant that many people with impaired capacity have had their decision making rights stripped from them by being made a Ward of Court. Important life decisions such as where to live, open a bank account and consent to medical treatment are no longer theirs to make.

Inclusion Ireland’s submission to the Disability Matters Committee can be found here.

Zoom Consultations: UNCRPD Rights

Inclusion Ireland is running 3 Zoom consultations on different rights under the UNCRPD.
We want to find out what you think about how well your rights are being protected under the UNCRPD.

What? The first consultation will be on Education, Day Services and Employment.

When? The first consultation will take place on Thursday 6th of May, from 2 to 4pm

Who? Self-advocacy groups, people with an intellectual disability, family members and supporters are all welcome to attend.

Homework – When you register you will get three videos that were made with people who have an intellectual disability.

These videos will help you and your group to think about what issues are important to you before the event.

How to Register

You can send us an email to or call us at 01 8559891

There is a limited number of places to attend the event.

The closing date for registration is Fri 30th April

HSE Event: Free Webinar

Webinar: Reducing stress and increasing well-being – how to care for yourself and access psychosocial supports during and after the pandemic

We are holding a similar webinar NEXT FRIDAY 23rd APRIL for DISABLED PEOPLE, THEIR FAMILIES AND CARERS to provide them with supports around self-care during the pandemic.

Could you please send this information and registration link to the families and disabled people in your service and support them to register for this webinar. The webinar will be recorded and will be available on our website after the event.

Topic: Reducing stress and increasing well-being – how to care for yourself and access psychosocial supports during and after the pandemic

Target Audience – people with disabilities, their families and carers who support them


This webinar, hosted by the HSE Disability Services, will be held on Friday, 23rd April 2021 from 11:30am – 1:00pm.

The webinar will introduce participants to the National Psychosocial Response to COVID-19 Framework and will feature a number of speakers who will discuss the importance of wellness and supporting one another, self-care and outline further practical support services that are available free of charge to people with disabilities, their families and carers.

A disabled person will also speak about how he has coped during the pandemic.

The event is free to attend.

Please register here:

Please check your spam/junk folder after you register to ensure that you receive confirmation and the link to join the webinar.

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