Creating an inclusive workforce for all our tomorrows

Joan O'Donnell
Published in
6 min readSep 5, 2021


It’ time to ditch failing strategies and embracing an inclusive future of work

Pidgeon sitting in foreground looking sideways with office buildings in background- Dublin
A view of Dublin by author

Covid-19 has compounded the difficulties disabled people face with regard to work, but it did not cause the fault-line in Irish social policy that resulted in Ireland having the poorest EU participation rates of disabled people in the workforce…even before the pandemic.

Despite the shift in emphasis to remote working in the last year, there is scant regard for the potential this offers disabled workers in a post-pandemic world. While working from home does not suit all jobs any more than it does all personality types, it does create more options. So where are disabled people in this picture?

Could it be that they are obscured by the policy machinery surrounding the issue which creates more obstacles than opportunities? Despite all the strategies, programmes, interventions, projects, grants and personnel involved in supporting people with disabilities into the workplace, it must be clear to everyone, as it certainly is to disabled people, that something is not working. It was not working before the pandemic, it is not working now, and will not work into the future — unless we take a radically different approach and aim higher.

People with