What is a Disabled Persons’ Organisation (DPO)?
Disabled people's organisations (DPOs) - organisations governed, run and controlled directly by persons with disabilities, which also have a majority of persons with disabilities among their membership. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has provided a definition of DPOs.
What if I am unsure if my organisation qualifies as a DPO?
Can parents / family members join?
Membership is only open to DPOs, and any disabled person, regardless of age or impairment can register with us. A parent or family member cannot become a member of DPO in their own right – however we encourage family members to organise and fight for services and rights for disabled people. We hope to be in a position to offer supports to any organisations led by family members, as long as they are fighting for the same goals and priorities as DPoI.
We invite family members to register a disabled family member if the person can not register on their own behalf, whether because the disabled person is under 18 or if they have very significant disabilities.
What about disabled children?
Older people who have become disabled due to age, and welcome and encouraged to register with DPoI. There is no difference between a person of 70, and a person of 35, or 15 who have the same impairment, and the same access and support needs – and are entitled to the same services, schemes and supports. DPoI believes that removing or barring services and Independent Living supports to any disabled person because they are older than 65, is discrimination and is both legally and morally wrong.
What about people over 65?
A number of disability activists came together last year (2016), and began working together to address the absence of a national cross disability DPO. This effort was sparked by the deaths of a number of friends and colleagues within the disability movement. We have been working slowly and carefully in building the organisation, because w have been very aware if the need to avoid mistakes of other efforts to create national DPOs in the past. Both the Forum of People with Disabilities and People with Disabilities Ireland faced problems that eventually led to their collapse – we want to make sure that this does not happen again.
How and when did DPoI start?
· Membership of DPoI is made up of qualified national or local DPOs in Ireland. All disabled people, regardless of age or impairment, can register with DPoI and be involved in dialogue and consultation regarding policy and research development – along with being kept informed of news and events.
· DPoI is currently managed by a small coordinating committee, and an Advisory Group of disability activists provides guidance and advice.
· We are currently accepting applications for membership, and will be holding a meeting in early December to identify our next steps.