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Ireland Releases National Disability Strategy And Disability Bill
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 29, 2004

DUBLIN, IRELAND--People with disabilities in Ireland last week were given new guarantees of their rights by the Government, in the form of a National Disability Strategy and a long-anticipated Disability Bill.

The new law is designed to "set this country on a new path in terms of quality service provision, equality of access and positive outcomes for people with disabilities," Willie O'Dea, Minister of State at the Department of Justice Equality and Law Reform, said in a press statement.

The strategy also "reinforces the Government’s commitment to social inclusion for people with disabilities," the statement read.

The strategy was drawn up with the input of people with disabilities, particularly the Disability Legislation Consultation Group. Disability groups had been calling on the Government to change its policies in education, health, training, employment, transportation and public services, to reflect their needs.

The plan primarily gives individuals the right to have an independent review of their service needs, and a service statement, along with a complaint and appeals process if they are refused services.

The Bill also "puts the policy of mainstreaming on a statutory footing so that public bodies must cater for people with disabilities as well as other citizens".

"This strategy represents a move from the medical model of disability to the social model,” said Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

“It will make inclusion and participation a reality and the Government is committed to removing as many obstacles as possible."

Disability Bill 2004 (Disability Federation of Ireland)

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