People with a disability are less likely than the rest of the working-age population to get a job and more likely to leave employment even when their disability does not create difficulties with everyday activities.
The finding is contained in an ESRI report whose authors calculate that if all people with a disability who wanted to work had a job, half of all disabled people of working age would be in employment instead of the current 31%.
The ESRI study was commissioned by the National Disability Authority and draws on official data spanning the five years up to 2015.
It finds that 31% of people aged 20-59 with a disability were at work compared to 71% of those without a disability.
While slightly more than four out of five with a disability were working or had worked at some stage, almost two out of five had not worked for four years or more.
For those without a disability, the rate of job entry picked up during the onset of economic recovery. However, the study found little sign of a recovery for people with a disability by 2015.
The authors calculate that if all people with a disability who wanted to work had a job, half of all disabled people of working age would be in employment instead of the current 31%.
However, the report says specific Government interventions are required such as allowing people with a disability to retain medical cards when moving into employment.