|In this Issue:
ILMI on ‘Morning Ireland’.
Realising the promise of national equality policy: an evaluation of the processes of implementation of three national equality strategies.
Disability Pride Month.
ILMI on ‘Morning Ireland’
Employment and Disabled People why are so many of us unable to access the labour market and have meaningful careers? Addressing the employment challenges faced by disabled individuals requires a multifaceted approach. From dispelling misconceptions and improving accessibility to transforming support systems and promoting inclusivity, concerted efforts are needed to create a more equitable and empowering work environment for all. Employment and Disabled People why are so many of us unable to access the labour market and have meaningful careers? Let’s delve into the reasons in more detail from the ‘benefits trap’ to employers needing more help with ILMI’s Seònaid Ó Murchadha and Brian Dalton. RTE’s ‘Morning Ireland’ show report by Petula Martin.
ILMI part of Coalition 2030 Delegation to address UN around Sustainable Development
On July 19th Ireland will present its review of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) progress to the UN and all 193 member states – the last time it did this was in 2018. ILMI is a proud member of Coalition 2030, an alliance of over 70 civil society organisations as well as trade unions and academics working to advance the Sustainable Development Goals in Ireland and abroad.
We are extremely proud that ILMI Policy officer, Dr James Casey, is part of the Coalition 2030 delegation to the United Nations National High Level Political Forum (HLPF) where the Coalition will respond to Ireland’s Voluntary National Review (VNR).
James has already posted a video update of the work he will be carrying out on behalf of Coalition 2030 and ILMI and the importance of the visibility of disabled people participating at the highest international levels in relation to sustainability and inclusion.
Keep up to date with the work Coalition 2030 is doing in the UN via our regular Facebook and Twitter updates.
As part of ILMI’s work on the SDGs and based on a consultation in March we will be producing resources on this later in the year.
Realising the promise of national equality policy: an evaluation of the processes of implementation of three national equality strategies
The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) commissioned the Centre for Effective Services (CES) to conduct an independent review of the implementation of three equality strategies: the Migrant Integration Strategy (MIS), the National Strategy for Women and Girls (NSWG) and the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy (NTRIS).
Why is this review important?
Even though the National Disability Inclusion Strategy (NDIS) was not part of this review, there is much that is vital to ILMI. For one, the intersectional nature of identity means that the implementation of those strategies is vital to improve the life experiences of disabled women, disabled Travelers and Roma and disabled migrants. And secondly, the processes and concerns identified within this review are important for ILMI as a DPO as the NDIS is being reviewed and also to take the learning from this review to inform the best practice of future disability equality policy, including any UNCRPD implementation plan.
What are some of the core messages in this review?
It is a comprehensive document that is based on literature reviews and consultations with civil and public servants responsible for policy development, academics and NGO representatives. One of the core messages is that the causes and consequences of inequalities for structurally vulnerable groups are deep-rooted, far-reaching, and multidimensional. As a result, they require systematic policy responses that are large in scale and that target multiple levels of society. While recognising that systemic discrimination requires large scale policies, this report shows that the equality policies reviewed do not realise their ambitions as that they lack clear processes on how to implement them.
The literature review notes strongly the need to move from consultation to collective decision making and collaboration between the State and representative civil society groups, which has been a recurring policy theme from ILMI locally and nationally. It also notes that “collaboration is resource intensive and likely to only be possible with a smaller number of stakeholders”; from the development of new disability equality policy it is vital that the key stakeholders in this process are DPOs.
The Art of Saying No
Repeatedly the consultation stated that equality strategies need to limit the number of objectives and actions to a set of focused and realistic priorities, avoiding a broad strategy that is difficult to implement; and that policy strategies need to practice “the art of saying no”.
This message comes not only from those involved in Irish equality strategies but also the OECD who note that “a strategic initiative with a somewhat limited scope but genuine focus and realistic intervention plans is worth more than a broad strategy which cannot be realistically implemented.”
The CES review notes that “as a rule, there should be only a limited number of objectives to help focus and mobilise resources for their achievement. Too many objectives will split scarce resources and may lead to the unfocused, and hence suboptimal, delivery of policies and reforms.”
This echoes the ILMI interim review of the NDIS where we noted that with 114 actions it was:
“hard to see how all 114 actions can be carried out. The wide nature of the NDIS also means that it is unclear which actions are to be prioritised and how these will be implemented. This can lead to a feeling that no actions are being prioritised or that any progress is being made on the ground. Many ILMI members feel that actions are too vague (for example, action 31 “we will consider how best to build on and progress work completed to date to facilitate smooth transitions into, within and out of education..”)
There are also concerns where actions are a continuation of existing policies (see actions 35, 36, 38, 48, 57, 63, 66, 67, 68, 88, 93 and 95) that there needs to be some evaluation of what progress has been made to justify their continuation and whether they are still being resourced, implemented and evaluated.
In providing a complete overview of disability policy development and service delivery comprising 114 actions by its very nature the NDIS becomes too big, with too broad a focus and not enough tangible actions to be clearly implemented, monitored and evaluated for impact and success.
ILMI feels that in order for the NDIS to be effective it needs to deliver on core aspects of inclusion.”
You can read the ILMI submission as a PDF here or as MS word version here:
The language from our review is very similar to the conclusions in reviewing the three equality strategies in the CES document:
“Large, unfocused strategies are difficult to implement. Future strategic plans should include a limited number of key priority objectives and associated actions.”
Equality strategies need leadership, involvement of NGOs and implementation plans
The CES review noted the need for political and departmental leadership and the need for accountability, but recognising that this leadership needs to be built on EDI training. ILMI would note that EDI training needs to ensure that disability equality is enshrined in social model training. The expertise of representative organisations based on collective lived experience is noted for all strategies, but identifies the need to move from influencing the policy to move to implementation and oversight of plans.
Equality policies need an implementation plan to be created in parallel with measurable actions and clearly defined outputs which can lead to easier monitoring of the impact of equality policies.
The report also notes the impact of government department restructuring and the associated staff changes that resulted in the loss of institutional memory and of rich insights into and knowledge of the strategies.
Disability Pride Month
In the middle of Disability Pride Month, it’s time to honour not only the trailblazers but the entirety of our being. Navigating a world steeped in ableism poses its challenges, and understanding our bodies can be a complex journey. We are learning that we can take pride in our Disabled identities while acknowledging the multifaceted nature of our impairments.
Let us amplify our voices and provide platforms that create lasting impact. Disability rights extend beyond the boundaries of our community; they contribute to forging a more inclusive society that benefits everyone, Disabled or not. From the enactment of legislation to the implementation of innovative solutions, the advancements driven by Disabled individuals enrich our society profoundly. In recognising this, we foster empathy, understanding, and a more inclusive world for all.
Disability Pride Month serves as a celebration of our identities, our communities, and the remarkable progress society has made towards inclusivity. However, it is also a poignant reminder of the work that remains unfinished. It is crucial that we not only celebrate our achievements but also consistently draw attention to the essential tasks that lie ahead. Disability Pride is more than a calendar month, when you embrace it in a meaningful way to yourself, then Disability Pride is every day.
Let us extend our heartfelt appreciation to the tireless Disabled activists across Ireland. The leaders and influencers who are charting a course for genuine and meaningful change. Through their unwavering commitment, they champion disability rights and inclusivity, serving as catalysts for transformative societal shifts.
Recognise that advocacy is not a passive endeavour, and the fight for disability rights cannot be shouldered solely by Disabled individuals. By uniting and harnessing our collective strength, expertise, and knowledge, we can effect change. Step off the side-lines and actively engage. Each of us has a role to play, and we invite you to join us on this journey by reaching out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Allies play a critical role in this fight because we are all interconnected and interdependent in society.
The support of allies is paramount in this struggle. Utilise your platforms to call out discrimination when you witness it, advocate for laws and policies that safeguard disability rights, and ensure that Disabled voices resonate within decision-making spaces. Rather than speaking on behalf of Disabled individuals, use your voice to amplify ours. The most powerful transformations occur when we stand together, championing a world that upholds fairness, inclusivity, and accessibility for all.
This Disability Pride Month, let us not only celebrate the accomplishments of individual Disabled individuals but also honour the resilience, strength, and diversity that permeates our entire community. Embrace your Disabled identity with pride and continue to work tirelessly towards a society that acknowledges and values the contributions and potential of all its members. Together, we can forge an inclusive and equitable world for everyone.
Click this link to read more about the Disability Pride Flag design by Ann Magill (and others) Reddit