Report finds people with disabilities experience more discrimination than those without

People with disabilities continue to go through higher levels of discrimination compared to those without.

That is one of the findings of new research, published today by the ESRI and Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.

Around one in every five reports of discrimination among people with disabilities concerns health services, more than any other area of life.

ESRI Research Officer Dr Joanne Banks said they are making recommendations to improve the situation for disabled people at work.

Dr Banks said: "These are particular labour market policies, such as a comprehensive employment strategy or public sector duty, which is really aimed at engaging with employers and making them more aware of the rights of employees with disabilities.

"Also increasing the retention for people who have disabilities and maybe gain that disability throughout their life course or throughout their careers."

    The findings of the report, entitled “Disability and Discrimination in Ireland”, include:

  • People with disabilities continue to experience higher levels of discrimination compared to those without. Although discrimination has decreased over time, a gap remains with 16% of people with disabilities reporting discrimination compared to 11% of people without disabilities in 2014.
  • The effect of discrimination on the lives of people with disabilities is more serious than for those without a disability. Just under half of people with a disability who experience discrimination report the effects as either “serious” or “very serious”, compared to just over 30% of people without a disability.
  • Approximately one in every five reports of discrimination among people with disabilities concerns health services – more than any other setting.
  • Compared to those without disabilities, people with disabilities were much less likely to experience discrimination in the labour market. The low prevalence of reporting of labour market discrimination by people with disabilities is entirely due to lower rates of labour market participation.
  • When accessing public services – health, education and transport, and private services – shops, pubs and restaurants, people with disabilities also reported higher levels of discrimination compared to those without disabilities.
  • Controlling for a range of factors, the report shows that people who are blind or have a psychological/emotional disability are much more likely to experience discrimination across different social settings. Those who are deaf or have an intellectual disability were found, however, not to differ from people without disabilities in their experiences of discrimination.

Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission said: “Over 13% of Ireland’s population have a disability, that signifies over 643,000 people who are looking to this Convention, and Ireland’s implementation of it, to ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.

“Viewing disability from a human rights perspective involves an evolution in thinking and acting by States and all sectors of society so that persons with disabilities are no longer considered to be recipients of charity or objects of others’ decision-making but as active participants in the exercise of their rights. It is about celebrating human diversity.”


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