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European Union (Accessibility of Websites and Mobile Applications of Public Sector Bodies) Regulations 2020

Ireland established the European Union (Accessibility of Websites and Mobile Applications of Public Sector Bodies) Regulations 2020 on September 23 2020.

A transposition of Directive (EU) 2016/2102, also known as the EU Web Accessibility Directive, the primary purpose of these regulations is to ensure the digital services provided by public sector bodies are accessible to all individuals. By implementing these regulations, Ireland aims to create an inclusive environment that offers equal access to everyone, particularly people with disabilities.

Public sector bodies are required to take measures to make their websites and mobile applications perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. These principles align with the criteria outlined in EN 301 549, the European standard for the accessibility of ICT products and services. In turn, this standard references the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, which are widely recognised as the global standard for web accessibility.

The Regulations apply to public sector owned websites developed or significantly updated after September 23 2018 and mobile applications developed or significantly updated after June 23 2021. Furthermore, an accessibility statement must be published on these websites and mobile applications. The statement should provide information about a platform’s accessibility features and include contact details for individuals who require assistance.

Enforcing the Regulations falls under the responsibility of the National Disability Authority. The NDA has been tasked with ensuring the compliance of public sector bodies and establishing penalties or measures for non-compliant entities.

The NDA must also submit periodic reports to the Minister for Communications, Climate Action, and Environment, consisting of data on compliance, complaint and redress provisions, consultation mechanisms, accessibility policy developments, and training activities. The reports are made public in an accessible format.