Rehab Group Marks 75 Years of Advocacy and Empowerment for Individuals with Disabilities

Rehab National Advocacy Conference takes place in Dublin

Today, the Rehab Group celebrated a momentous occasion—the 75th anniversary of its founding—at its National Advocacy Conference. Held in-person at the Gibson Hotel, Dublin and via live stream, the event brought together advocates, stakeholders, and supporters from across the country to reflect on the organisation’s remarkable journey and renew their commitment to advancing disability rights and inclusion in 2024.

Rehab Group began as the Rehabilitation Institute in 1949 to support people recovering from TB to rebuild their lives, regain their independence, and re-enter the workforce following their illness. Over its 75 years, thousands of people and their families have benefited from the services provided by Rehab Group. Since its foundation, Rehab has been at the forefront of campaigns to put disability on the national agenda.

Rehab’s National Advocacy Conference, the largest disability-focused conference in the country, kicked off today. The annual conference is an opportunity for those who Rehab supports to voice their opinions on issues that affect their lives directly. Each year, Rehab Group puts forward representatives from the services for Regional Advocacy Committees; the elections for these committee seats are held during the conference. The chosen representatives will discuss issues and advocate for themselves and their peers along with their fellow advocates throughout this election year to bring real change to the disabled community.

Addressing the attendees, Minister of State for Disability, Anne Rabbitte congratulated the disability organisation on its 75th anniversary and emphasised the organisation’s crucial role in empowering individuals with disabilities to actively participate in their communities and pursue lives of their choosing. “I want to congratulate Rehab Group on this remarkable milestone, and to all advocates gathered here today, your voices are the catalysts for change, driving us towards a more inclusive and equitable future.

The conference will focus on multiple issues that impact those living with disabilities, including how to make your voice heard during this election year. Keynote speaker Dr Vivian Rath, Member of the National Disability Authority & Member of Disability Advisory Group Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, will speak on The Power of Advocacy – Making an Impact. CEO of the Electoral Commission of Ireland, Art O’Leary, will host an information session on the Irish electoral process and how to get your voice heard.

Barry McGinn, CEO of the Rehab Group, expressed his deep gratitude to all those who have contributed to Rehab’s mission over the past seven and a half decades. McGinn paid tribute to the pioneers and visionaries who laid the groundwork for Rehab’s legacy.

” Since its inception, Rehab has been at the forefront of the campaign to give disability rights its rightful place on the national agenda. McGinn emphasised the organisation’s commitment to promoting equality, social justice, and empowerment for individuals with disabilities.

“Our National and Regional Advocacy Committee members are our greatest ambassadors, and they work hard every day to make lasting change. This significant milestone stands as a testament to the enduring dedication, resilience, and transformative efforts of all the advocates present today and those who came before you in shaping a better future for individuals with disabilities and those marginalised in our society. The experience of the last 75 years provides a stark reminder that change does not come easily. But it also shows us the unconquerable determination that has marked the development of Rehab to date,” concluded Mr McGinn.

The National Advocacy Conference concluded with lively debates and discussions as attendees reflected on the conference’s recommendations and pledged to continue working towards a more inclusive society.


For media inquiries, please contact Senior Communications Officer Ciara Heffernan at or on 087 9728513