People with Disabilities


The 2006 Census of population recorded 393,785 people in the Republic of Ireland as having a disability, yet, the housing system as a whole largely ignores their needs, while social housing providers are faced with heavy demands for housing for people with disabilities.

Contemporary policy developments, although extensively researched and published, lack sufficient statutory or legal basis for effective implementation. An attempt to establish a disability housing forum within each local authority area, through the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 was rejected by the government of the day. An amendment by Deputy Ciarán Lynch to establish a disability housing forum in each housing authority area and ensure adequate provision of housing to promote the independence of persons with a disability was defeated. 

The Report of the Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities (1996) pointed out that people with disabilities were, to a large extent, invisible within the housing system in ireland. 

It recommended that equality legislation covering disability be brought forward, that disability policy be part of all government policies and that a National Disability Authority be set up, with a national network of Disability resource Centres. The Commission made 23 recommendations for change, including the adoption of a policy of lifetime Adaptable Housing, entailing an improvement in Building regulations, the collection of a whole range of statistics, detailed assessments of current residential centres, as well as a Charter of rights for residents and the removal of people with disabilities inappropriately placed in institutions such as psychiatric hospital. The Charter of rights for residents of residential centres for people with disabilities recommended:

  1. Specific provisions setting out the detailed services provided by the institution;

  2. Quality standards of services to which the person is entitled;

  3. The right to information and the manner in which it will be provided;

  4. The manner in which records will be maintained and the right of access to


  5. The right of access to complaint procedures and the manner in which the

    complaint procedures will operate;

  6. The right to advocacy and representation;

  7. A system of review and amendment of the Charter taking into account the

    views of service users. 


    As a result of this Commission and the energies of the many disability groups, people with disabilities are demanding to be consulted over the provision, design and management of their housing. See: Ask Me – Guidelines for Effective Consultation with People with Disabilities, (Dublin, NDA, 2002). 


    In fact, many disability groups are adopting a rights-based approach to all service provision and are striving to increase their advocacy role. 

    See: Advocacy – A Rights Issue, (Dublin, FPD, 2001).

     See also Flynn, E, “‌”, Cork Online Law Review, (2007), 2, 14–23. 


    The Independent Living Movement

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