9 in 10 Say Employers Should Do More to Accommodate Disabled Workers

Poll Findings Mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Nine in ten (89%) people in Ireland agree that more should be done by employers to accommodate employees with disabilities, while one in five (21%) people say they have witnessed or directly experienced discrimination directly related to someone’s disability, according to a new national Amárach poll published today by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (‘the Commission’) to mark the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Every year on 3 December, the world celebrates this day, which aims to promote an understanding of disability rights, and provide focus on the dignity and equal participation of disabled people.

The theme of this year’s international day is “Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world“. This focuses on ensuring our eventual recovery from COVID-19 sees the full participation of disabled people, and avoids the creation of an even larger rights gap.

Sinéad Gibney, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission commented:

“These figures show that our society has had enough of those amongst us with disabilities being side-lined and patronised.

“Full and meaningful participation in the decisions that shape our lives is something we should all expect. And that expectation is no different for disabled people.”

Dr. Rosaleen McDonagh – Commission Member and Chair of the Commission’s Disability Advisory Committee stated:

“We celebrate today ourselves as disabled people, and take pride in disabled people in every sector of life, while we also look forward to the full implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 

“Respecting diversity within the disabled community is also vital, taking time to honour and celebrate who we are.

“We are in solidarity today also with disabled people across the world including those in war-torn jurisdictions, and places where human rights are not afforded to people with disabilities.”

The nationally representative poll of over 1200 people published today also shows that in relation to disability rights:

  • Barriers to Participation – Almost nine in ten (87%) of people in Ireland agree that people with disabilities face barriers in participating fully in Irish society, in 2020 this figure was 86%.
  • Fair treatmentTwo-fifths (41%) consider that people with disabilities are not treated fairly in Irish society, in line with 2020 (42%)
  • COVID response – A greater proportion agree (42%) than disagree (24%) that minority groups have been sufficiently considered in Ireland’s response to COVID-19. Rates of agreement have increased compared to 2020 results (36%)

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s independent National Human Rights Institution and National Equality Body, and is the designated independent monitor of Ireland’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD.)


For further information, please contact:

Brian Dawson, IHREC Communications Manager,

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Editor’s Note:

The Amárach Research poll

An online survey was carried out by Amárach Research on behalf of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.

A total sample of 1,201 was achieved with quotas set on gender, age, social class and region to achieve a sample aligned with national population. Amárach estimate that the margin of error of 3%, which allows a confidence interval of 95%. Interviewing fieldwork dates were 12th-19th of October 2021.

These findings are high level results brought forward for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities with additional findings and results to follow from this poll.

A link to additional detail of the disability rights survey module is available here:



The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission,

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.