CIL CMH eBulletin October

Updates from CIL

The past year has seen the loss of many great Irish Independent Living activists. Last week we once again united in grief at the loss of Eugene Callan, a truly great Leader within the Independent Living movement.

Eugene, who was originally from Monaghan, was a Dublin-based Leader whose work and dedication to the movement had implications for people with disabilities far beyond any geographical boundary. He served as CIL Chairperson for many years until 2008 when he retired from CIL to concentrate on his work in Cheshire and his activities with the IWA, Spinal Injuries Ireland and the wider movement. A true gentleman Eugene was the person we all went to for advice. He had a wealth of knowledge and a quiet wisdom that was both respected and admired by all he encountered. Over the years Eugene remained deeply rooted within the disability movement and in more recent years his work with the Leaders Alliance brought him firmly back to the activism and campaigning role we all relied on him for. He was the calming influence required to steer us through many unsteady times. We will miss his knowledge, wit, and caring nature forever. Our deepest sympathies are extended to his beloved Niamh, mother Kathleen, brothers, sister and extended family. Sleep well our friend x


My name is Damien Walshe, and I would like to take this chance to introduce myself to you as the new CEO of Center for Independent Living Carmichael House.

Firstly, I would like to pay tribute to my predecessor Gary Lee, who left CIL CMH this summer. I am sure you will all wish him the very best in the future and recognise his commitment to the work and the expertise, passion and knowledge he brought into the role.

I am very proud to have been appointed in this role. In my previous employment I have been fortunate enough to be part of organisations driven by a strong commitment to equality and human rights and am delighted to bring that analysis to an organisation that shares my values. I have a passion for engaging and supporting people to become involved in actions that achieve change for individuals, communities and ultimately Irish society.

Most recently I was acting CEO for the Irish Traveller Movement, a national grassroots-led membership organisation that campaigned for Travellers’ rights and challenged inequality. Some of our successes included the mobilisation of people all across the country in coordinated political campaigns to influence policy, with some significant successes. I had responsibility for developing a number of accredited leadership programmes to ensure that our campaigns were always led by those with lived experience, a value that I hold strongly in all my work.

I was also the campaign coordinator of the Equality and Rights Alliance, which was a national membership-based organisation made up of civil society and community groups who worked together to influence State policy development in relation to equality and human rights issues, most recently in relation to the implementation of the Public Sector Duty and monitoring the equality and human rights infrastructure in Ireland; which are vital areas that potentially can have huge impacts on the lives people with disabilities.

I have over 8 years of management experience in the NGO sector. I have been part of management teams that have led organisations through structural changes and strategic planning. I have a commitment to social justice and human rights and belief in the power for collective actions to bring about a better and more just society. I am very proud to have been given this opportunity and look forward to meeting and working with you all in the near future.

In Their Names In Our Time
On September 23rd over 200 people with disabilities and their supporters from across Ireland, came together in the Mansion House in Dublin, to honour those Independent Living activists we have lost in recent years. The event, which was organized by By Us With Us, with the support of CIL, aimed to regenerate a new form of leadership capable of advancing our call for true equality.

Prior to the event By Us With Us were acutely aware that the disability rights movement is a movement with a long history in Ireland. The Leaders lost along the way made tremendous personal sacrifices to bring us to where we are today. However, with their loss there was a need to look to the future and In Their Names In Our Time was conceived as the first step in a reawakening of a true people’s disability movement.

When speaking about the next steps Hubert McCormack, one of the key organisers, stressed that as a group people with disabilities “are challenged not only to keep the memory of those we have lost alive but also to realize their goals and mirror their resolve”. Hubert explains that given the deep personal nature of the day By Us With Us wanted to do something memorable to kick-start a change. The daylong event, which was the first of its kind, was a showcase of personal testimonies, music, dance and debate.

By Us With Us hope that the experience of In Their Names In Our Time will spark a new form of dialogue across the disability spectrum. We have our history to consider, our current reality as the sole country in the EU yet to ratify the UNCRPD and most importantly we have the task of regenerating a new form of leadership capable of advancing our call for true equality.

The ENIL Freedom Drive took place from the 24th to the 28th of September in Brussels. This year’s Drive was dedicated to the late Martin Naughton, who was the father of the Freedom Drive since its foundation in 2003. The Drive provides supporters of the Independent Living Movement with the unique opportunity to meet Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and promote human rights issues, as well to share experiences and ideas with colleagues from around Europe.

This year was the 8th Freedom Drive with over 300 people with disabilities from 19 countries in attendance. Among the main Freedom Drive demands were the end to institutionalisation of disabled people across Europe, access to personal assistance in all countries, full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the end to cuts to support services and benefits for people with disabilities.

Representatives from Ireland included CIL Chairperson Michael McCabe, Clare Leader Forum members Thomas Connole and Dermot Hayes, and Dublin 15 Peer Forum Member Claire Rooney. The Irish delegation made a strong presentation calling for legislation to allow for Personal Assistance in EU legislation, and for any such change to be included in Irish legislation. The impact of austerity on people with disabilities and the urgent need for Ireland to ratify the UNCRPD were also key issues highlighted by the Irish delegation during the Drive.
A special word of thanks to Marian Harkin MEP who assisted with sponsorship for the Clare Leader Forum members to attend the event.

Update From The Regions
Leader Forum Update

There is a huge amount happening in the Leader Forum. In this edition we will give you a quick overview of what is happening with some of our groups. Our groups meet monthly and we always welcome new members.

Most recently, the Leader Forum groups submitted a shared Pre-Budget submission. The groups are currently working on preparing their input for a submission on personalised budgets.

Our Sligo Forum have been doing a huge amount of work to ensure Sligo is as accessible as possible. The Sligo Forum met with Sligo Council with the head of the Roads Department in the Council and presented him with a series of video clips that members of the forum had recorded around the town. We look forward to our follow up meeting with the Roads Department in November to monitor the progress on issues raised. Already the signs are good.

This month, the Sligo Forum have also been working in collaboration with the Sligo Sports Partnership around accessible sport. We are recruiting support from the private sector and as a result some of our Leaders are enjoying getting involved in tandem cycling. Huge thanks to our forum members in Offaly and Galway for their support to the Sligo group to progress this.

This week, the Sligo Leader Forum hold their first in a series of Mental Health workshops. These will include mindfulness, and managing negative thoughts.

This month the Laois Leader Forum reviewed their six month work plan and set actions for the upcoming period. The group reviewed their sessions on education and income support and the speakers that met the group from the Education & Training Board and Citizens Information and it was agreed to run a session in partnership with the National Learning Network.

This week the access review was complete on the Primary Care Centre in Mountmellick and feedback was given to the manager. The group are currently writing a follow up report on outstanding access issues.
Our Dublin 15 Forum are putting their Community Leadership training in to practice and welcomed some new members this month. In September the group did some work around the privatisation of local transport routes currently operated by Dublin Bus.

The group have just completed their 5 week Social Media Training and fed back on its success. Some of the members will now participated in additional computer training delivered in the area.
This month the group also focussed on the launch of the documentary made by the group. More details to follow on that in the next issue.

#AbleHour continues on Twitter every Thursday at 8pm for anyone interested in online peer support and information sharing.

The Offaly Leader Forum hosted a peer support meeting this month. The ‘Power is Within’, workshop focussed on identifying individual strengths and what members feel that they are good at. The group worked through self limiting beliefs and negative thinking. The group reflected on the advice the group would give to themselves at a difficult point in their lives.

Over the last couple of months the Cork Forum have engaged in training sessions around newsletter publication, using programmes like Publisher to do so. This month, after a lot of hard work, the Cork newsletter was finally launched. Leaders contributed articles and the themes were broad from local community resources, accessible transport and policy updates. We remembered former editor and member of the Forum Paul Butler. We plan that this will be a great resource for information sharing in the county.
This month the group are also working towards Peer Advocacy training. We plan to commence this training in 2018. Big themes that came up in discussion with our members this month included challenges of parenting with a disability. These challenges start right from the point of maternity services to judgement by social workers and medical professionals throughout a childs life. Perceptions and attitudes were a big theme also as we discussed ideas around identity and disability.

In the Leader Forum, we continue our efforts to develop ways to reach out to ensure that our work is inclusive of younger members. We are working on an online peer support and information sharing project. Keep an eye on the Update from the Regions Leader Forum section of the e-bulletin for details.

For more information about the Leader Forum please contact Naoise Cunningham on 086 7744991 or email at

Clare Leader Forum Presented a ‘Hip Hop Hooley’!

On Friday the 15th of September the Clare Leader Forum organised a social event with a difference in Ennis.

Conscious of the needs of people with disabilities to access opportunities to socialise and have fun the Clare Leader Forum has worked on a series of social events. In July over one hundred people with disabilities came together for a Summer Party to express themselves on the dance floor. For the second event in September the Forum worked with the Brothers of Charity to ensure even more people with disabilities gathered for an afternoon of diverse music and fun.

Part of the day celebrated all the Forum had achieved in highlighting the social exclusion of people with disabilities across Clare but it also looked to the future and the vital changes that need to take place to ensure all people are included in our community. Live music and choreographed dance routines were all part of the afternoon entertainment, which also included a much-loved game of ‘Dates and Mates’.

Forum spokesperson Dermot Hayes explains, “The Hip Hop Hooley was all about including all those who are lonely and isolated. There are people in parts of Clare whose only daily conversation is with the postman or their home help or PA. The sad reality is that it is our outdated and inaccessible public services that are causing this exclusion. Lack of accessible transport, limited personal assistance hours and low levels of disposable income due to the enormous cost of living with a disability and limited employment options are all pushing Clare people with disabilities back into the institution that is their own homes. We don’t want to just get up and sit in our houses all day we want to live and the Clare Leader Forum is providing avenues for us to do just that”.

The Clare Leader Forum meets twice a month. If you would like to join the group, or simply want more information, then contact Susan on 086 1712648.

Broken Promises Campaign

‘Broken Promises – Disabled People Fight back’ are holding the third in a series of protests over the non-ratification of the UN Convention on Rights for People with Disabilities (UNCRPD). On Monday October 9th at 12pm people with disabilities are asked to unit in support outside Leinster House, Dail Eireann, Kildare Street, Dublin. This event is being supported by the CRC and all are asked to please support where possible.

In the Media
RTÉ News
People with disabilities and their supporters held a rally in Dublin 23rd of September as part of a new push for equal rights.
They called on the Government to boost funding for the ‘personal assistant’ service which they say has largely been reduced to facilitating people to be helped out of bed in the morning and back into bed in the evening.

People with disabilities and their supporters held a rally in Dublin today as part of a new push for equal rights.They called on the Government to boost funding for the 'personal assistant' service which they say has largely been reduced to facilitating people to be helped out of bed in the morning and back into bed in the evening.

Posted by RTÉ News on Saturday, September 23, 2017

Policy Updates
Regional Consultations – Task Force on Personalised Budgets

In line with its commitment to consult with stakeholders, the Task Force on Personalised
Budgets will shortly begin a public consultation exercise. The consultation is being carried
out to inform the Task Force’s deliberations on specific elements of relevance to
personalised budget models. As part of this process a series of meetings are being held in
the following four locations.

Cork (Imperial Hotel) 9th October 2017, 2.30 pm – 4.30 pm
Dublin, (Croke Park Conference Centre) 11 October 2017, 7.30 pm – 9.30 pm
Galway (Radisson Blu Hotel) 18October 2017, 2.30 pm – 4.30 pm
Cavan (Cavan Crystal Hotel) 19 October 2017, 6.30pm – 8.30pm

If you would like to attend one of these meetings please email or telephone 01-635 4769 by 5pm on Wednesday, October 4th with the following information:

1. Name:
2. Email:
3. Telephone number:
4. Which meeting you wish to attend:
5. Any additional requirements (Irish Sign Language, Loop system, other)

Please note attendance at the meetings will be by invitation only and prior registration will
be required. As places are limited we would advise you to book as soon as possible.
Vouched travel expenses may be reimbursed in accordance with the attached guidelines.
Further information relating to the Public Consultation will be available at: from Monday at 10am.
Kind regards
Task Force on Personalised Budget

Ratify the UNCRPD Now!

Following on from the solidarity expressed at the In Their Names In Our Time event, a group of individual Leaders have called on the Minister for Disability Finian McGrath to honour the commitment made in 2015 to ratify the United Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities before the end of 2016. It is one year and counting after the deadline and people with disabilities and their families have waited far too long for their rights to be recognised and protected by Irish law. We NEED the UNCRPD to be ratified immediately.

As part of this campaign, which is supported by, people with disabilities are calling for an end to the inconceivable injustices and degrading treatment of people with disabilities here in Ireland. Too many people with disabilities are living in forced institutions, separated from their families and communities, with no control over their own lives, bodily integrity, often afraid, abused and unheard.

Ireland is the last country in the European Union to ratify the Convention. Ratifying the Convention will mean formal recognition of the rights of people with disabilities and enable Independent Living and freedom from discrimination. Disgracefully eleven years after the UN adopted the Convention, Ireland is the only county in the EU that has failed to ratify it.

The group are asking all of you, to help to shine a spotlight on our government’s inaction. It is NOT okay that people with disabilities have no control over their lives. They need your support on this campaign and cannot do it alone. By signing this important petition to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled People, your support will help to positively change our country and the lives of many for the better.

Once finalised the petition will be personally presented to Minister McGrath on the 3rd December, International Day of Disabled People. You can help by signing the petition, which can be found at .

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