The Minister of State with responsibility for Disability, Anne Rabbitte T.D., attended the High-level Videoconference on The European Strategy on The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities 2021-2030 on the 20th April 2021, hosted by the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union.

The conference was an opportunity to bring together European institutions, member-states and civil society organisations to discuss the Strategy, its goals and the challenges ahead.

Representing Ireland in a Ministerial Roundtable with colleagues from other Member States, Minister Rabbitte spoke about Ireland’s support of the EU Disability Card, which is a flagship initiative under the Strategy.

Speaking on this subject, Minister Rabbitte said: “The EU Disability Card is a practical response to addressing the barriers faced by people with disabilities moving throughout the Union. The initial pilot that ran in eight EU countries was focused on the areas of culture, leisure, sport and transport. I think such an initiative could really help deliver additional benefits to people with disabilities across the EU.

“With a shared approach to the Disability Card across the EU, it would immediately open up possibilities that may not have existed before. It’s a really exciting project. The current indication is that by the end of 2023, the European Commission will propose creating a European Disability Card, which is mutually recognised between EU countries participating in the system, on a voluntary basis.

“By mutual recognition of disability and access to services across our borders we can begin to remove barriers faced by people with disabilities. This Card would offer real benefits to not just Irish citizens but millions of citizens across the EU. If we can use positive data from the pilot project, I believe that we can build the political consensus required to progress this initiative under the new Strategy. I’m confident Ireland will do its part in engaging in that process and assessing the possibilities that exist,” concluded Minister Rabbitte.