Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD, launched Ireland’s first ever Sport Inclusion Disability Charter in November 2018 last in Leinster house.
It is a joint event between Cara and Sport Ireland. Cara (Sport-Inclusion-Ireland) is a national not for profit, pan-disability sport organisation, working to ensure people with disabilities have equal access to, and awareness of participation opportunities in sport and physical activities of their choice.
The charter, which was developed by Cara (Sport-Inclusion-Ireland) in conjunction with Sport Ireland, outlines five key areas people with disabilities are asking organisations to consider in making active and healthy lifestyles possible for them.
Speaking at the launch at Leinster House, which was attended by myself and many other representatives from the sport, health, disability and education sectors, Minister Ross said: “Everyone, no matter what their background or circumstances, should have the opportunity to engage in sport and physical activity at a level of their choosing. This Sport Inclusion Disability Charter is an important development for Irish sport, which demonstrates the sector’s commitment to increasing the number of opportunities for people with a disability. I would like to commend Cara, Sport Ireland and all those involved with the production of this charter.”
Sport and physical activity are central to the fabric of life in Ireland. As citizens of this state, people with disabilities have a right to be active within their local communities. To truly understand what it is like for a person with a disability to be active in Ireland, Cara, with the support of the Sport Ireland Local Sports Partnership network, coordinated nationwide focus groups with people with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities where they shared their experiences, challenges and needs.
Highlighting the goals of Sport Ireland’s Policy on the Participation of People with Disabilities in Sport and the key actions set out within the National Sports Policy (2018-2027) to address the participation gradient that exists in relation to people with disabilities and their participation in sport and physical activity, Chief Executive of Sport Ireland, John Treacy, said: “Sport Ireland is committed to the equal treatment of all people when it comes to their participation in sport. This commitment was formalised through the publication of Sport Ireland’s Policy on Participation in Sport by People with Disabilities last year that outlines strong guiding principles which will make sure that we have a coordinated approach to ensure that the delivery of the sector’s efforts are more effective and accountable.
“The development of a charter is one of the key actions contained in the policy and is aligned with the new National Sports Policy. We are encouraging all organisations involved in the provision of sport and physical activity opportunities to adopt the charter as we look to make Irish sport as accessible as possible.”
Over 140 people with a disability who are both active and inactive were asked about their experiences, challenges and needs in relation to their participation in sport and physical activity. From the vast feedback received, the Sport Inclusion Disability Charter was developed, which clearly outlines five key areas people with disabilities are asking all organisations to consider in increasing opportunities for them in sport and physical activity:
- Be open to and understanding of all people with disabilities
- Access training for our people to facilitate the inclusion of people with disabilities
- Develop and deliver inclusive activities
- Review our facility/venues/equipment to make our organisation more accessible
- Promote the inclusive nature of our activities, in a variety of formats
Among the first signatories and attending the launch today were the Federation of Irish Sport, the Football Association of Ireland, and Kildare Sports Partnership who in signing the Charter highlighted its significance.
Managing Director of Cara, Niamh Daffy, added: “It is hoped that this Charter will be a catalyst for change which will lead to a unified approach to increasing awareness, increasing opportunities and ultimately increasing the participation of people with disabilities in sport and physical activity across Ireland”.