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Minister Roderic O’ Gorman and Minister Anne Rabbitte welcome Government approval of the Disability Action Plan 2024 – 2026

From Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth 

Published on 26 July 2023

Last updated on 25 July 2023

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, and Minister of State for Disabilities, Anne Rabbitte, today welcomed Government approval of the Disability Action Plan 2024-2026.

The Action Plan represents a key step in the expansion and reform of specialist community-based disability services including day services, respite and residential services, personal assistance and home support, as well as multidisciplinary therapy interventions for children and adults. These services form core supports in the Government’s ambition to help people with disabilities live ordinary lives in ordinary places, in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

The Action Plan has been developed on foot of the Disability Capacity Review to 2032 – A Review of Social Care Demand and Capacity Requirements to 2032. This review set out the extra capacity requirements for community disability services up to 2032, based on an analysis of demographic trends and unmet need. Following its publication, Government committed to working towards implementing its recommendations.

The Disability Action Plan 2024 – 2026 represents the first phase in this process of implementation. Its main focus is on service expansion for disability services and the key priorities in this regard are:

  • Increasing capacity of Children’s Disability Network Teams, in conjunction with the upcoming Roadmap for Service Improvement 2023 – 2025 in Children’s Disability Services
  • Increased personal assistance and home support hours
  • Efforts to accelerate the decongregation programme
  • Increasing capacity for planned residential placements
  • Expansion of respite provision

The Plan also seeks to refresh and reinvigorate the Transforming Lives reform agenda through a suite of actions that seek to maximise service impact through strategic change and also to improve planning and management capacity through better information and systems. Key enablers such as workforce, also a primary consideration in the Roadmap for Service Improvement 2023-2025 for Children’s Disability Services, and the development of alternative models of providing services will be explored in order to drive better service delivery. Close partnership with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage in exploring alternative models of residential services, as well as delivering additional places, will also be an important aspect of the plan.

The Action Plan is now being prepared for publication, including in accessible formats, and will be available in early autumn.

Roderic OGormanMinister Roderic O’Gorman said:

“I am very proud to have secured Government approval for the Disability Action Plan 2024-2026. Earlier this year, the responsibility for specialist disability services transferred to my Department and it has been a priority for me that a tangible difference for people with disabilities would follow. This Action Plan is not only a valuable vehicle to begin addressing the deficits identified in the Disability Capacity Review but will also allow us to look at how we develop policy and deliver services more broadly. I look forward to launching the Plan in the autumn.”

Minister RabbitteMinister of State for Disabilities Anne Rabbitte said:

“I know from my conversations with people that there is an urgent need to provide more and better services to meet the demand that exists in the system. The Disability Action Plan 2024-2026 sets out how we are going to do that. I am particularly pleased that this plan will provide a template for the expansion of children’s services, which is such a critical area. This Plan, along with the Roadmap for children’s services, gives us a touchstone and I hope we will now see real improvements in this area.” 


The Disability Capacity Review to 2032 – A Review of Social Care Demand and Capacity Requirements to 2032 was published by the Government in July 2021, along with a Framework Action Plan, setting out key areas for attention.

The detailed action plan was then developed in late 2021 and early 2022 by an interdepartmental Working Group with officials from Department of Health, Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Department of Social Protection, Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science and the Health Service Executive.

Their work was informed by an extensive public consultation, in which around 800 people participated. Further information on the consultation and its results can be found here.

Ministers O’Gorman and Humphreys launch Irish Language Story Book Videos as part of My Little Library Initiative 2023

Minister Roderic O’Gorman and Minister Heather Humphreys launch Irish Language Story Book Videos as part of My Little Library Initiative 2023.


My Little Library Minister OGorman 2


Read full press release here;


Físeáin Leabhair Scéalta Gaeilge á seoladh mar chuid de Thionscnamh Mo Leabharlann Bheag 2023:

Tá 6 fhíseán ann, léiríonn gach ceann acu leabhar scéalta ardchaighdeáin do pháistí a roghnaíodh as na cinn atá sna málaí leabhar Gaeilge Mo Leabharlann Bheag i mbliana.

Tá na málaí seo saor in aisce do gach páiste atá ag tosú ar scoil i mí Mheán Fómhair óna leabharlann áitiúil.

Tá sé mar aidhm ag an acmhainn seo tacú le tuismitheoirí agus iad a spreagadh chun málaí leabhar Gaeilge a roghnú agus na leabhair a léamh lena bpáistí.

Is féidir teacht ar acmhainní físe Léamh Le Chéile anseo:


My Little Library Book Bag Irish


  • The Léamh Le Chéile video resources can be accessed here.
  • Further Information on My Little Library Initiative can be found here.

Minister O’Gorman confirms introduction of new employment rights for parents

Minister O’Gorman confirms introduction of new employment rights for parentsDCEDIY new employment rights 26 06 2023
From Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

Minister Roderic O’Gorman has today (26th of June) announced the commencement date for new employment entitlements brought in as part of the recently passed Work Life Balance Act 2023.

As part of the legislation, the entitlement to breastfeeding breaks will be extended from the current period of six months – a time which coincides with maternity leave – up to two years.

In addition to this, parents and carers will be entitled to a new right to unpaid leave for medical purposes.

The Minister confirmed today these provision will come into effect from 3rd July 2023.

Speaking about the commencement, Minister O’Gorman said:

“The Work Life Balance Act is about helping make sure that our work lives reflect the reality of our personal lives, particularly for parents and carers.

“By extending breastfeeding breaks to two years after the birth of the child, we can support women returning to work after maternity leave to continue to breastfeed, in line with best practices from a public health perspective. Normalising breastfeeding in the workplace is of benefit to mothers, babies and wider society.’

The Minister went on to say:

“The new right to leave for medical care purposes will give parents and carers access to a flexible short-term form of unpaid leave, providing certainty at difficult moments, should they need it.”

Notes for the editor:
Part 1, Part 2, other than sections 7, 8, 12 (a), 13 and 14; and Sections 32 to 39 of the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2023 will be commenced on 3rd July 2023.

This includes the introduction of leave for medical care purposes and amendments to the Maternity Protection Acts to provide for the extension of breastfeeding breaks. An order amending regulations relating to breastfeeding breaks made under the Maternity Protection Acts will also be made.

It is planned to commence the legislative provisions introducing domestic violence leave in the autumn.

The right to request flexible working for parents and carers will be commenced following the preparation of a Code of Practice by the WRC under Part 4.

Commencement of Part 3 and Part 4 are for the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

Minister O'Gorman publishes progress reports for First 5, the Government strategy for babies, young children and their families

From Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth 

Published on 15 June 2023

Last updated on 15 June 2023

The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’ Gorman, has today published the Government’s First 5 Annual Implementation Reports 2020 and 2021/22.

First 5, the ten-year Whole-of-Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families (2019-2028) was published in November 2018 followed by an initial implementation plan for the Strategy in May 2019.

The reports highlight how the interim target set for paid parents leave – of 7 weeks per parent by 2021 – has been reached; the interim target of a 30% graduate early learning and childcare workforce by 2021 exceeded and the investment target for early learning and childcare – of €970 million by 2028 – has been exceeded five years ahead of schedule.

The Report also outlines key achievements over the period 2020 – 2022, including:

  • an extension of paid parents leave and extended entitlements to unpaid parent leave;
  • the publication of Supporting Parents, A New Model of Parenting Support Services to improve awareness of, and access to, parenting support services;
  • a range of new measures to promote healthier childhoods;
  • major reforms to the early learning and care system; and
  • a range of measures to help families struggling with the cost of living and to reduce the risk of early childhood poverty.

First 5 focuses on the period of early childhood, from the antenatal period to age five, and takes a joined-up, cross-government approach to supporting babies, young children and their families during these critical early years.

An Open Policy Debate on the First 5 Implementation Plan 2023-2025 will take place on 20 June.

Minister O Gorman First 5 Progress Report


Access report here 👇

First 5 Annual Implamentation Report 2021 2022
















A high-level summary of progress on 2020 and 2021/22 milestones across the First 5 Big Steps are set out below.

i. A broader range of options for parents to balance working and caring

Extended entitlements to paid parents’ leave were announced in 2020. The Family Leave and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2021 extended the statutory entitlement to paid parents’ leave from three weeks paid leave per parent to five weeks, and extended the period in which leave can be taken from within one year of the child’s birth or adoptive placement to two years. In April 2021, a further three weeks of Parent's Leave and Benefit became available to each parent. In July 2022, Parents’ Leave and Benefit increased by a further two weeks, bringing the current entitlement to seven weeks which meets the First 5 target.

The Family Leave and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2021 also amended the Adoptive Leave Act 1995 to enable adoptive couples to choose which parent may avail of adoptive leave and, in doing so, rectified an anomaly in the legislation that left married male same-sex couples unable to avail of adoptive leave.

Furthermore, the phased introduction of an additional eight weeks unpaid parental leave commenced in 2019, and rose from 22 to 26 working weeks in September 2020. The leave is available to a 'relevant parent' of a child, which is defined in the 1998 Act as a parent, an adoptive parent, or a person acting in ‘loco parentis’.

A General Scheme of the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill, which transposes provisions of the EU Directive (2019/1158) on work life balance for parents and carers, was published in April 2022 and referred to the Joint Committee on Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth for Pre-legislative Scrutiny. The Joint Committee issued its Report on Pre-Legislative Scrutiny on 9 June 2022 and the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2022 was published on 5 October 2022.

The Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill, which incorporates the Right to Request Remote Working Bill, will introduces a range of measures to improve family-friendly work practices and support women in the workforce including:

  • A right to request flexible working arrangements for caring purposes, for parents and carers;
  • A right to request remote working for all workers;
  • A right to leave for medical care purposes, both for employees with children up to age 12 and carers; and
  • Extension of the current entitlement to breastfeeding/lactation breaks from six months to two years.

The Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill has passed all Stages in the Oireachtas in 2023 and was enacted on the 4th of April 2023 as the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2023.

ii. A new model of parenting support.

The development of a national model of parenting support services began in 2020, led by the Parenting Support Policy Unit in DCEDIY, in partnership with Tusla, the HSE, and other partners from the community and voluntary sector. Supporting Parents: A National Model of Parenting Support Services was launched in 2022. Supporting Parents aims is to develop a more coherent and strategic approach to the development and delivery of parenting support services so that all parents can access the support they need when they need it.

Plans to consolidate, streamline, and strengthen parenting information resources into a single, coherent platform were brought forward due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with the launch of the ‘Parents’ Centre’ platform in April 2020 on Subsequently the Parents’ Centre platform has been merged with the ‘Supporting Children and Parents’ platform, which launched in 2022 and brings together new and existing resources that parents may find helpful. The platform also includes resources for Ukrainian parents in Ireland.

Additionally, two informational social media campaigns were conducted in 2020. The national public information campaign on positive parenting originally scheduled for 2020 was delayed to prioritise other projects in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This campaign was successfully run in 2021.

iii. New developments in child health

A Steering Group was established by the Department of Health in 2019 to commence work on a dedicated child health workforce - one of the major commitments of First 5. As a result of the re-prioritisation of work in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the work on the establishment of a dedicated child health workforce did not progress. However, the Department has recommenced this important work.

Ministers O’Gorman and Humphreys announce details of My Little Library 2023

From Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

Published on 8 June 2023 

Last updated on 7 June 2023 Little Libraries 2023

Roderic O’ Gorman, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, together with Heather Humphreys, Minister for Rural and Community Development, today launched #MyLittleLibrary2023. This initiative, funded through Dormant Accounts Funding, offers a free book bag with storybooks for children and supportive information for parents for all children starting school in September 2023. 

The aim of the initiative is that all children will start school with storybooks in their homes and as members of their local library.

This year’s initiative builds on the success of My Little Library 2022 when over 46,000 book bags were distributed to children starting school, in their local library. The initiative resulted in over 37,000, 4 and 5-year-old children joining the library.

Roderic OGorman


Speaking today about My Little Library 2023, Minister O’Gorman said:

“I am delighted to announce the second year of the First 5 – My Little Library book bag for all the boys and girls leaving pre-school and starting school later this year. I hope that all the families with children starting school will visit their local library and pick up their My Little Library book bag and join the library for a lifetime of stories and reading.

“Thanks to our wonderful libraries across the country for partnering with us on this important initiative.”




 Minister Humphreys added: 

Minister Humphreys

“It is great to see the My Little Library initiative go from strength to strength with the support of the library service. Parents signing their children up as library members are giving them a gift that will last a lifetime.”

Monaghan County Librarian and Chair of the Public Library National Strategic Programmes Committee, Catherine Elliott said:

“Local authority public libraries are delighted to be delivering the My Little Library Book Bag initiative for the second year.

“We look forward to welcoming all of the 4 and 5-year-old children starting school and their families in to collect their book bags and discover the benefits of library membership. Reading is so important for personal development and supporting children as they grow.

“We hope that our new cohort of library members and their families will come back regularly to refill their book bags and take part in all the events and activities we have on offer at the library”.


The First 5 Little Library Initiative 2023 will:

Provide a First 5 - My Little Library book bag to every child starting school in September for collection in libraries across the country.

Offer free library membership, with a specially designed Little Library card wallet, for the children.

Encourage free membership and use of the library to all children and adults in the family.

Include information for parents in each bag to support children prepare for the next stage of their learning journey.

Offer book bags in Irish and English.

The First 5 Little Library Initiative is funded under Dormant Accounts Funding. It delivers on one of the many actions under First 5: the whole-of-Government strategy to improve the lives of babies, young children, and their families. This ten-year plan aims to ensure all children in Ireland have positive early experiences and get a great start in life. Find out more at

Supporting Quality Childcare in Offaly

Offaly County Childcare Committee support the development of quality, affordable, inclusive, accessible childcare and family friendly services for all children in every part of the county.

Offaly County Childcare Committee has been meeting since May 2001 and is made up of representatives from the statutory sector, social partners, community groups, voluntary groups, the Community and Voluntary Forum, National Voluntary Children's Organisations, providers of childcare, and parents - all of whom have a vested interest in childcare provision in the county.

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