Disability Rights


Senator Dr Tom Clonan with his son Eoghan with Duke and Leahy.
Senator Dr Tom Clonan with his son Eoghan with Duke and Leahy. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

As a carer for his son Eoghan, Senator Dr Tom Clonan understands the challenges people with disabilities face. He is outspoken about Ireland having the worst disability services in the European Union.

His primary goal in office is to campaign for the 600,000 people in Ireland with disabilities and those who care for them in the fight for equality. He will also campaign for our elderly citizens and all those with acquired injuries who require supports, services and care packages.

As a parent, Senator Clonan has witnessed the failure of the health system and social supports for his son, Eoghan. He knows through lived experience that the supports and services for disabled Irish citizens are almost non-existent.

“People with a disability are robbed of the enjoyment of so many things because of the cruel and unnecessary obstacles put in their path. If my son Eoghan wants to take the Dart into town, he must give 24 hours’ notice so that a ramp will be at the station. Lifts in Dart Stations are routinely broken and as a consequence, many Disabled Citizens are denied access to public transport.”

Senator Tom Clonan meeting his role model Senator Marian Harkin who introduced the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1989.

In Seanad Éireann, Senator Clonan is doing the following:

Working on legislation that would create a legal requirement to provide treatments, therapies, supports and services to disabled citizens. At present, Ireland us the only country in The European Union where there is no such legislation.

Campaigning to have the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) fully ratified in Ireland through his work on the Committee on Disability Matters.

At the Committee on Disability Matters, Senator Clonan got Health Service Executive CEO Paul Reid to admit that the ‘Progressing Disability Services for Children and Young People’ programme was a complete failure, “we have had huge failings in terms of communications, inconsistency of communications, engagement, levels of empathy and the inconsistencies across different Community Health Organisations and community areas.”

Tom Clonan and Kerry Diocesan Youth Service members.
Tom Clonan, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, Eoghan, Leo Varadkar

Senator Tom Clonan supported two amendments to the Higher Education Authority (HEA) Bill that would allow all students with disabilities to get supports, irrespective of the college they have chosen through the CAO process.

Read all Tom’s Disability Rights News