A major two-day meeting which will focus on the Political Participation of Persons with Disabilities is taking place in Leinster House this week and will discuss if introducing quotas for people with disabilities is the way forward to creating more inclusion and diversity into political representation, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
The annual meeting of the global organisation, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) Advisory Panel takes place on Monday the 13th and Tuesday the 14th in Leinster House. Fine Gael Senator Martin Conway will Chair the discussions.
Senator Conway said that inclusivity is a key issue for many, and this meeting will allow individuals and organisations from around the world to come together to share their experiences with the expert panel.
“The panel which was formed in 2021 is made up of independent experts, academics and political representatives from across the OSCE region who will provide advice, guidance, and recommendations to ODIHR on the participation of people with disabilities in political and public life.
“This meeting is a real chance to expand research and share knowledge on the political participation of people within the OSCE region and should highlight Ireland’s potential to be a leader on disability rights.
“It is also going to give the Houses of the Oireachtas the opportunity to showcase the wonderful work it has done on diversity, particularly with regard to the OWL programme, and provide other organisations with information on how they can be as inclusive.
“There is a wide variety of topics up for discussion in this year’s panel, such as disability quotas in politics and a presentation on mainstreaming disability rights in foreign policy by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
“The panel will also be addressed by my colleague, Senator Micheál Carrigy, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism. This is an opportunity for the panel to hear about the issues this committee has been looking at to further the rights of those with autism.
“I’m delighted to chair this exceptional panel and look forward to hearing the insights of so many experts on how we can make politics more inclusive.
“As a society we are trying to encourage and enable people with disabilities to participate more in politics. This panel of experts will help to create policies that can be used to make politics a more welcoming place for persons with disabilities across the OSCE region”, concluded Senator Conway.