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Disability Forum

Northern Ireland

What you need to know


Disability forum

The Disability Forum involves persons with disabilities and their representative organisations to assist the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission to deliver their joint role to promote, protect and monitor implementation of United Nations Convention on the Protection of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in Northern Ireland.

The Disability Forum has a remit to assist and advise officials of the Independent Mechanism Northern Ireland to fulfil their UNCRPD Article 33 independent monitoring role.

This includes engagement with the Northern Ireland Executive and UK Government towards the full implementation of human rights for people with disabilities in Northern Ireland.
Forum Membership currently comprises the following representative organisations and individuals:

Age NI

Age NI is the leading charity in Northern Ireland dedicated to helping everyone make the most of later life. They believe in a world where everyone can love later life and work every day to achieve this.


  • Forum representative: Pascal McKeown

The British Deaf Association

The British Deaf Association (BDA) is the UK's leading membership organisation and registered charity run by Deaf people for Deaf people. The BDA delivers a range of services to achieve its aims of empowering Deaf people to overcome difficulties that they face on a daily basis.
  • Forum Representative: Naomi Fujitani

Children in Northern Ireland

Children in Northern Ireland (CiNI) is the regional umbrella organisation for the children's sector in Northern Ireland. They chair the Children with Disabilities Strategic Alliance.
  • Forum Representative: Ernest Purvis

Centre for Independent Living NI

The Centre for Independent Living NI is an organisation run by disabled people for disabled people. They work to promote the principles of independent living and provide a range of services for people using or considering using Direct Payments and/or Self-Directed Support.
  • Forum Representative: Brian Alyward

Disability Action

Disability Action Northern Ireland is the largest Northern Ireland wide pan-disability organisation working with disabled people with various disabilities: physical disabilities, learning disabilities, sensory disabilities, hidden disabilities and mental health disabilities.
  • Forum Representative: Andrea Brown

Inclusive Mobility Transport Advisory Committee

The Inclusive Mobility and Transport Advisory Committee (IMTAC) is a committee of disabled people and older people as well as others including key transport professionals. The role of the Committee is to advise Government and others in Northern Ireland on issues that affect the mobility of older people and disabled people.
  • Forum Representative: June Best


Mencap Northern Ireland wants Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK to be the best place in the world for people with a learning disability to live happy and healthy lives. Achieving this will mean making big changes in society and Mencap NI is committed to listening to and being led by people with a learning disability from all communities.
  • Forum Representative: Karen Gilgunn


MindWise is a leading mental health charity in Northern Ireland. They deliver a range of services, raise awareness, challenge stigma and campaign for change. MindWise’s’ vision is a world where people affected by mental health issues receive support to lead a fulfilling life through recovery & discovery’.
  • Forum Member: Gareth Mulvenna

The Northwest Forum of People with Disabilities

The Northwest Forum of People with Disabilities is a human rights organisation 100% led by disabled people. They are dedicated to ensuring the voice of their membership and disabled people more generally is represented in the public and social arena in all matters which impact on the lives.
  • Forum Representative: Tony O'Reilly

The Omnibus Partnership

The Omnibus Partnership are a grassroots organisation of disabled people working for their inclusion in society.
  • Forum Representative: Amanda Paul

Royal National Institute for The Blind

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), is one of the UK’s leading sight loss charities and the largest community of blind and partially sighted people. They recognise everyone’s unique experience of sight loss and offer help and support for blind and partially sighted people – this can be anything from practical and emotional support, campaigning for change, reading services and the products they offer. 

RNIB are a catalyst for change – inspiring people with sight loss to transform their own personal experience, their community and, ultimately, society as a whole. Their focus is on giving them the help, support and the tools they need to realise their aspirations.

  • Forum Representative: Paula Beattie

Independent Forum Member: Dr Bronagh Byrne

Dr Bronagh Byrne is a Senior Lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast, School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work. She is the Co-Director of the Centre for Children's Rights and co-founder of the Disability Research Network. Bronagh's research expertise lies in the implementation of international disability and children’s rights.

Disability Forum Background and Meetings

If you would like to view records of earlier meetings, please contact us and we will be happy to accommodate this, email

The following background documents are available to download:

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