NDA Launches Code of Practice on Accessible Public Services

Release Date: 07/21/2006

"Making public services accessible for people with disabilities is critical to achieving a more inclusive society in Ireland" said Angela Kerins, Chairperson of the National Disability Authority (NDA) at the launch by an Taoiseach of NDA’s Code of Practice on accessible public services. This code is a practical guide to help all Government Departments and nearly 500 public bodies to comply with their obligations under the Disability Act 2005, to ensure that people with disabilities can now get access to public services and information like everyone else.

The code was launched along with six Government Department sectoral plans yesterday as part of the National Disability Strategy. The National Disability Authority played a pivotal role in supporting the development of the sectoral plans, organising regional seminars for engaging stakeholders and Departments, and offering expert advice. "This is a unique moment in the history of disability in Ireland" said Angela Kerins, "where for the first time we now have detailed commitments to action covering a broad range of areas such as public transport, accessible streets, health services, social welfare, job opportunities and broadcasting."

Angela Kerins welcomed the strategic approach being adopted by Government through the plans and the new arrangements for Departments to work together on advancing key cross cutting policy issues. Departments need to come together to tackle issues that cross departmental boundaries, such as the benefits trap, and the challenge to raise employment of people with disabilities.

Over the next few years people with disabilities should be able to see real change and many of the changes announced today will improve their daily lives. Coast to coast local councils will make their footpaths, parks and other facilities fully accessible over the next 10 years. A major programme of investment in public transport will help people access work and everyday activities. While the National Disability Authority considers that there is still further work to be done on particular issues, such as housing for people with disabilities and a national employment strategy, there is now a mechanism in place for progressing these issues.

ENDS

The code of practice is available online.