DPO Network launches position paper on the role of Disabled Persons’ Organisations (DPOs) in Ireland.
Paper calls for multiannual investment in DPOs to ensure the effective participation of disabled people in implementing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in Ireland.

Today (Wednesday 13th December) the DPO Network proudly launches a groundbreaking position paper outlining the role of Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs) in Ireland. The position paper was formally launched in the Oireachtas AV room by Minister of State at the Department of Health and at the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Anne Rabbitte TD.

“This position paper sets out the DPO Network’s understanding of the role of Disabled Persons’ Organisations (DPOs) in advancing the effective and meaningful participation and inclusion of disabled people in Ireland. This is based on best practice of work that members of the DPO network are currently engaged in Ireland. The paper also reflects international best practice on how to support the meaningful participation of DPOs in co-creating policy” said DPO Network chairperson, Jacqui Browne.

Formally launching the position paper Minister Anne Rabbitte TD stated, “I am delighted to formally launch the DPO Network position paper on the role of DPOs in Ireland. The role of DPOs in supporting the implementation of the UN CRPD is crucial; and this guidance is timely, given the development of a new National Disability Strategy. This strategy will represent our aims to realise the UNCRPD and it is vital that not only my Department but all State bodies and Government departments recognise and support DPO engagement to realise the UNCRPD in Ireland”.

“The DPO Network is calling for the Government to agree criteria for DPO recognition and support DPOs to meet these criteria as well as the need to establish and maintain a national register of DPOs. The emergence of DPOs in Ireland is a relatively new phenomenon but DPOs have the collective, shared expertise of lived experience and we bring a unique perspective to speak on the needs and issues of concern to disabled people. DPOs also foster the empowerment of disabled people by enabling their participation in the decision-making processes that affect their lives, which can lead to better quality of life outcomes. The crucial role of DPOs needs not only recognition but adequate multi-annual funding to support the UNCRPD being fully implemented in Ireland” added Ms Browne.

The position paper is available online, in a variety of formats, at the DPO Network website www.dponetwork.ie and from each member organisation. The paper offers a definition of DPOs, identifies types of DPOs and their functions. It also highlights essential characteristics in line with international best practice and explores their importance in promoting the effective and meaningful participation of DPOs in the implementation of the UNCRPD.
The paper concludes with a number of recommendations to ensure that DPO engagement becomes a core element of State action on the genuine implementation of the UN CRPD in Ireland.

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