The Minister for Disability, Equality, Mental Health and Older People, Ms. Kathleen Lynch, T.D., today announced the publication of the National Disability Strategy Implementation Plan. This new Plan for the National Disability Strategy was prepared and agreed by the National Disability Strategy Implementation Group and submitted to Government on 23 July 2013. The publication of the Plan, a commitment in the Programme for Government, is a significant step forward in ensuring progress is achieved in implementing the National Disability Strategy over the next three years.

The National Disability Strategy is a whole-of-Government approach to advancing social inclusion of people with disabilities and, in spite of economic challenges, this Plan has been developed to build on the progress that has been made to date and to advance Government’s commitment to improving the lives of people with disabilities.

In announcing the publication, Minister Lynch stated that "this Plan calls to action all individuals, organisations, local and national Government to think positively about disability. It is a collaborative effort and an open invitation to the community and voluntary sectors to work creatively together with statutory agencies and government departments to improve the lives of people with disabilities over the next three years. It is an opportunity to build on the progress achieved by the Strategy to date and ensure going forward that people with disabilities have more choice and control in their lives, can reach their full potential and can participate in the every day life of the community".

The Plan has a clear citizen focus and is organised around important rights for citizens with disabilities. All of the actions contained in the Plan are under the themes of ‘equal citizens’, ‘independence and choice’, ‘participation’ and ‘maximise potential’. The High Level Goals of the Plan are that people with disabilities are free from discrimination; are supported to live the life they choose; live ordinary lives in ordinary places, participating in the life of the community; and are enabled to reach their full potential. Each Goal has specific objectives and actions through which it will be achieved. The Plan, as approved, contains strong oversight mechanisms to ensure delivery of these actions.

The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr. Alan Shatter, T.D., welcomed the publication of the Plan and praised the work undertaken by Minister Lynch in driving this process. Minister Shatter stated that "the members of the National Disability Strategy Implementation Group, under the Chairmanship of Minister Lynch, are to be commended for making our Programme for Government commitment a reality, for their tireless efforts in developing a Plan which will lead the way in improving the quality of life for people with disabilities and for providing the roadmap for collaborative working across Government and with the disability sector to achieve our common goals".

Minister Lynch reaffirmed her commitment to achieving what has been set out in the Plan and called on her colleagues to "ensure a coordinated, whole of government approach in delivering on the commitments set out in the Plan and to consistently promote equality for people with disabilities in both mainstream and disability specific services".

The National Disability Strategy Implementation Plan is available on the Department of Justice and Equality website (www.justice.ie).

29 July 2013

ENDS

Note for Editors:

The publication of this Implementation Plan fulfils the Programme for Government commitment to "publish, following wide consultation, a realistic implementation plan for the National Disability Strategy, including sectoral plans with achievable timescales and targets within available resources and ensure whole of government involvement and monitoring of the Strategy, in partnership with the disability sector".

The Implementation Plan was developed by the National Disability Strategy Implementation Group (NDSIG), chaired by Minister Lynch, and comprising representatives from relevant government departments, disability organisations and people with disabilities appointed in their personal capacity.

The Implementation Plan was approved by the NDSIG at their meeting of 20 June 2013 and passed by Government on 23 July 2013.