Disability Act, 2005
A number of changes were made to the Disability Bill 2004 as it progressed through the Oireachtas but it was eventually passed and is now the Disability Act 2005. For details of the main amendments that were made, see the July 2005 issue of Relate (Relate, July 2005, pdf) (Relate, July 2005, Word), Citizens Information Board's monthly information journal on legislation, schemes and new initiatives.
Among other provisions, the Disability Act 2005 provides a statute-based right for people with disabilities to an assessment of disability-related health, personal social service and education needs. The process is independent of existing services or cost constraints.
The Disability Act 2005 also provides a statutory basis for accessible public services. Sections 26, 27 and 28 of the Act place obligations on public bodies to make their services and information accessible to people with disabilities.
The Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform charged the National Disability Authority (NDA) with developing a Code of Practice as set out under Section 30 of the Act. The purpose of this Code is to guide public bodies to meet their obligations under the Act. The Code covers a wide range of services provided by public bodies - including the provision of information, information resources, schemes, allowances or other benefits administered by public bodies. View the Code of Practice on Accessibility of Public Services and Information provided by Public Bodies here.
In summary, the Disability Act's main aims are to provide for:
- assessment of health and education needs of people with disabilities
- provision of resources to meet those needs
- making of plans for services
- complaints and appeals procedures
- access to public buildings, services and public service employment
- restrictions on genetic testing.
Plans for the implementation of parts of the Act are described in the September 2005 issue of Relate. For details of the Sectoral Plans for Disability Services, see the September 2006 issue of Relate.
The Disability Act, 2005 can be accessed directly via the Oireachtas website in PDF format.