In 1999, the National Disability Authority Act was enacted to underpin the new mainstream framework for the provision of services to people with disabilities. Under this Act, the National Disability Authority (NDA) was established as an independent statutory body dedicated to disability issues. The authority gathers data on disability issues, establishes and monitors standards and codes of practice in the implementation of programmes and services. It liaises with all agencies of government with the aim of encouraging the recognition and promotion of equality for people with disabilities. Under the act cultural agencies such as the Arts Council must ensure that their programmes are in line with the standards and codes of the authority.
In 2012, the Arts Council published an update of their disability policy along with a five-year strategy entitled Arts and Disability (2012-2016). The key values of the strategy include ensuring equality for people with disability so they can engage fully in artistic and cultural life in Ireland; and the support of a more social model of disability as an approach where access is considered at the early planning stage of infrastructure and programmes. The strategy acknowledges that it is important that disability is seen to include a diversity of people and practices. A holistic approach is favoured combining the mainstreaming of access and participation for artists and audiences with the more strategically targeted supports. The strategy fits within a wider inclusion policy of the Arts Council where arts and disability are part of a larger commitment to social inclusion.
The organisation Arts and Disability Ireland (ADI) is the national development and resource organisation dealing with arts and disability issues. The organisation promotes engagement with the arts at all levels — as professional artists, audience members and arts workers — for people of all ages with disabilities of all kinds. They encourage arts programmes and arts venues in becoming fully accessible experiences for all. They also advocate for inclusive policy and practice, which provides real access to all aspects of the arts for everyone. ADI’s strategic plan 2017-2021 entitled Leading Change in Arts and Culture focuses on three strategic areas: artists, audiences, and the arts and cultural environment. In relation to artists, they aim to ensure that Irish artists with disabilities experience no barriers in making art, and that their quality work is seen and appreciated in Ireland and internationally. They aim to ensure that audiences enjoy seamless, holistic, person-centred experiences. In relation to the arts and cultural environment ADI aim to ensure that disability inclusion becomes a natural part of the practice of arts programmers and arts workers.