The State must be held to account on its approach to the rights of people with disabilities, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission has urged.
A report published today by the commission and the Economic Social and Research Institute shows a “substantial discrimination gap” between people with and without disabilities.
While discrimination has decreased over time, people with disabilities continue to experience higher levels of discrimination than those without disabilities.
It found that 16% of people with disabilities reported discrimination compared to 11% of people without disabilities in 2014.
Between 2004 and 2014, between 10% and 12% of the population reported a disability.
The United National Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is now in force — more than a decade after it was first signed by the State.
Ireland is expected to produce its first report on its implementation of the convention to the UN in Geneva in 2020.
The commission wants people with disabilities to serve on the first ever statutory advisory committee to support monitoring to the implementation of the convention.
The IHREC/ESRI research entitled ‘Disability and Discrimination in Ireland has found that the effect of discrimination on 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.
About one out of five reports of discrimination among people with disabilities concern health services — more than any other setting.
When people with disabilities are looking for work the odds of experiencing work-related discrimination was twice as high compared to those without disabilities.
Those who are blind are at the greatest risk of experiencing discrimination, followed by those with psychological or emotional conditions.
The report suggests that addressing the issue should not just rely on social security or social welfare policy changes — a strategic approach was also needed in the area of education and employment.
The retention of people with disabilities in school is directly linked ot their later life chances, including their access to the labour market or further education,” it states.
IHREC chief commissioner Emily Logan said over 13% of Ireland’s population had a disability — that was over 643,000 people looking to the convention to protect their rights and dignity.
Ms Logan said: “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.”