The Social Democrats today, 30th January, launched their disability policy which aims to promote and protect the rights, quality of life and independence of people with disabilities, addressing decades of under-prioritisation. The policy gets to the root of the problem and proposes good solutions at both a systemic and operational level, including provision for increased funding supports to address the basic funding deficit for services within the sector.

The policy calls for the urgent signing of the optional protocol to the UNCRPD, an overhaul of the system of means testing and financial compensation to family carers of people with long-term incapacitating disabilities and a review of the taxation and PRSI pension rights for those with limited earnings capacity due to undertaking a carer role.

Dave Quinn, the Party’s candidate in Dun Laoghaire and a long-time disability activist said:

“We must move to a rights-based approach when focussing on disability and include disability at the heart of all decisions made by government and public services. This is not only the right thing to do, but it directly impacts on the lives of a huge part of Ireland’s population.

“Disappointingly, despite promises, the Government did not sign the ‘Optional Protocol’ of the UNCPRD when Ireland became the last EU country to ratify that convention. Without the protections of the protocol and it’s civil society independent oversight model, people with disabilities, carers and families will continue to face a situation where disability rights are dependent on the charity of whoever is in government and the economic cycle at a point in time.”

“Rights with such conditions are not really rights at all.”

Cllr Cian O’Callaghan, the party’s candidate for Dublin Bay North said:

“Everyday, I speak to people on the doorsteps who are caring for a family member with a disability. They are selfless and committed yet find themselves having to jump through hoops to access financial supports or maintain those supports. Needlessly placing such stress on many of these already over-stretched carers is extremely unfair and we must move to a system whereby one application process is sufficient.”

30th January 2020


1. The manifesto – Putting people with disabilities at the heart of all decisions – is available here.

2. The Social Democrats are running 20 candidates all across the country.


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