Ableism "is rife" within Irish workplaces and society, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission says.
It comes after a new Amárach poll published by the IHREC today shows nine in ten people in this country agree more should be done by employers to accommodate workers with disabilities.
It also found that the vast majority - 87% - of people also agree that people with disabilities face barriers in participating fully in Irish society.
The results have been published today to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
Sinéad Gibney, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, told Breakfast Briefing it's clear the Irish people want more to be done.
She said: “As advocates in this space and from the disability community themselves, it’s been very clear that employment is a huge issue - we have one of the lowest rates of unemployment for our disabled population within Europe. Only one in three people who have a disability are employed.
“We know this is a problem, but what this [survey] is telling us is clearly the Irish population is aware of this and concerned about it."
She said there are lots of things employers can do to "reasonably accommodate" staff with disabilities.
She said: “You cannot decide that because someone has a disability that they’re unable to do a job, without considering what simple measures you can put in place as an employer to create an equal footing for that person.
“Sometimes there’s a hesitation - a feeling that this is a whole lot of extra work.
"But I can tell you by embracing diversity and making your workplace disability-friendly you’re simply opening up a talent pool that exists to you.
"It’s better for business as well as better for people with disabilities.”
'Ableism is rife'
Ms Gibney said unconscious bias is an issue, but "ableism is rife" within Irish society as well.
She said: “People just have a barrier to really seeing the value of the contribution people with disabilities can make.
"I think that affects that participation of the disabled community in all aspects of Irish life.”
She said the IHREC is the monitoring body for Ireland's implementation of the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - noting the State has been "torturously slow" in implementing some of the measures.
In the meantime, she said the IHREC is doing everything they can to help the public and policy-makers to understand disabilities in a “rights-based way” - and said today is a day to celebrate Ireland’s disabled population.