Press Release

Minister of State Devins opens NDA Conference on Universal Design

‘‘New centre for Excellence in Universal design delivers on a vital provision of the Disability Act’’- Devins

The Minister of State with responsibility for Disability and Mental Health, Dr. Jimmy Devins, T.D., today (16th October), opened the National Disability Authority’s conference on Universal Design for the 21st Century.

“I am delighted to be here today to open the NDA’s inaugural conference on Universal Design”, the Minister said. “I further congratulate the NDA on bringing the new Centre for Excellence in Universal Design into operation. This delivers on a key Government commitment and implements a vital provision of the Disability Act 2005.”

“Universal design” refers to the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by persons regardless of their age, size or disability. The environment, in this case, includes public places (buildings, streets, etc. – in other words, anywhere that the public has access to) and any products used, services provided and systems (including electronic systems) operated in those places.

Minister Devins said “the Centre has an important role in contributing to the development and promotion of standards in universal design and it will contribute to the development of a more inclusive society where products, services and public places are usable by as many people as possible.” The Centre will work with a wide range of stakeholders.

Minister Devins thanked Dr. Angela Kerins, Chair of the NDA, Dr Ger Craddock, Chief Officer of the Centre, and Siobhán Barron, Director, for their vision in promoting Universal Design. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the NDA for organising today’s conference and providing such a wonderful opportunity to explore ideas and exchange information.”

Minister Devins noted that the new Centre, and the Disability Act 2005 under which it operates, are key components of the Government’s National Disability Strategy which is delivering real change and improvements in the lives of people with disabilities.