John Dolan Biography

Elected in 2017, John Dolan has spent all his working life in the disability movement, initially with the Irish Wheelchair Association and since 2000 in his current role as CEO of the Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI). He held a number of positions and responsibilities over the years, including community development, planning and delivering person centred life skill training, supporting provision of mainstream education, directing public affairs and media, planning and implementing political campaigns, and heading up HR and policy sections. He served on the DFI General Assembly since 1982, and on its Board between 1992 and 1999, where he served as Treasurer, Vice Chairperson and Chairperson.

His time in DFI has focused on promoting and mainstreaming disability as a societal and political issue while driving change within DFI and its organisations to best benefit from the unique opportunities brought by the UNCRPD. During his time, DFI has become the disability representative voice in the national social partnership process and led the negotiations with Government related to disability inclusion. He also served on the National Economic and Social Council as a civil society representative. DFI also engages with a number of other EU focused organisations such as EAPN, EASPD and the Social Platform where he serves on the latter two boards.

He was elected to the Irish Senate, the Upper House of the Irish Parliament, in April 2016 after a ground breaking campaign to ensure a disability inclusion voice.

Apart from having Polio since early childhood the most formative part of his disability and life learning/experience commenced in 1976 while training, to become a watchmaker, in a disability specific workshop and living in a disability hostel. Subsequently he acquired an undergraduate Degree in English and Economics from University College Dublin and following that he graduated as a Human Resources Professional and he studied public sector governance and qualified as a Company Secretary. He also has a National Certificate in Philosophical Studies.