What is Advocacy?

Advocacy comes in different forms, including self-advocacy, citizen advocacy and independent advocacy.

Advocacy is key to people with disabilities accessing their rights and entitlements.

Advocacy can also provide a safeguard for people with disabilities who may be vulnerable.  

Advocacy graphic

Representative Advocacy

Representative advocacy usually involves an advocate supporting a person to claim their rights or entitlements. This include access to services such as education, health, employment; legal rights; making complaints, etc. Inclusion Ireland does not provide a representative advocacy service.

The National Advocacy Service provides a free and confidential advocacy service to people with a disability.

National Advocacy Service information document

National Advocacy Service information Easy-to-Read document

National Advocacy Service Website

National Advocacy Service 0761 07 3000


Self-advocacy is when a person speaks up for themselves. This can be done alone or as part of a group.

Inclusion Ireland has a Board of Management which include several self-advocates and a self-advocacy sub-committee advises the Board of Directors.

Inclusion Ireland also supports a number of self-advocacy groups, including the self-advocacy sub-committee and the Leinster Platform of self-advocates and also the National Platform of self-advocates.  

Inclusion Ireland has launched a Self-Advocacy Resource Unit (SARU) which aims to share information on rights, services, training and law which affects people with disabilities. 

Self-Advocacy Resource Unit (SARU).

Family Advocacy

Family advocacy graphic

Inclusion Ireland has a long history of supporting parents and families to advocate. This approach to advocacy is about building capacity and empowerment of parents and family members.

Connect Family Network

Inclusion Ireland and Down Syndrome Ireland are working together on the Connect Family Network of local family disability support groups across Ireland. Over the coming months and years, the Connect Family Network will endeavour to bring about greater participation of persons with a disability and their family members in the design and delivery of disability services and supports. Full information on the Connect Family Network.

Policy Advocacy

Policy advocacy involves influencing changes to laws, policies and practices that discriminate against people with a disability.

Inclusion Ireland provides a central forum for its members to prepare agreed policy and submissions. Inclusion Ireland also participates on groups and committees monitoring government policy.

More information

Joint Committee on Health and Children report on advocacy (January 2016).