Dr John Roche tribute from ILMI

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the sudden passing of our friend and comrade, Dr John Roche.

John passed away at the weekend and leaves a huge legacy with the disability rights Movement in Ireland. He was actively involved in so many organisations and campaigns over the last 30 years and would have been well known and liked by so many activists from across the country.

Dr John Roche

John’s disability activism began in college, stretching back to 1988 when he became treasurer of Cambridge Disabled Access and Transport Group while studying for his PhD in Cambridge University. John was involved in the Independent Living Movement since joining the Center for Independent Living’s pilot personal assistance programme (INCARE) in 1994. He remained a long term campaigner for independent living supports to empower disabled people to lead independent lives of their own choosing. He served on the boards of Independent Living Community Services (1996 to 1998) and Greater Dublin Independent Living (2007 to 2019). He was also an active member and board member of Muscular Dystrophy Ireland (MDI), serving as chairperson for the last three years.

John joined the board of CIL as a casual vacancy in 2017 and was elected to the board in January 2018. John played an active role as CIL transformed into ILMI, especially in ensuring that ILMI set high standards for Governance and Transparency and Strategic Planning. He was very keen that ILMI as a Movement continue to encourage younger disabled people to become active to build sustainability in all of our work. He was also actively involved in ILMI developing a political campaign to legislate for a right to Personal Assistance.

He was a firm believer that education opens doors to employment opportunities and the role of Personal Assistance Services (PAS) and other independent living supports are the keys to inclusion for disabled people. John was a key member of the Leaders Alliance who were involved in direct action in 2012 when cuts to the PAS were threatened. John and other activists held overnight protests and won a reversal against proposed cuts to PAS. John played an active role in that campaign, speaking eloquently to media. His kindness and generosity was also evident during the campaign, checking in on the morale of fellow activists. That was the measure of John, who was a genuinely gentle soul, who was thoughtful and soft spoken, but who also had a wicked sense of humour.

John’s legacy was that he took on key management roles and gave them time and energy to bring structure to organisations when they were needed. This was evident in his work in ILMI over the last four years, and he was very proud of how the organisation had grown and developed, and his considerable role behind the scenes in making that happen.

He will be fondly remembered firstly as a kind and thoughtful person- as so many people said in developing this tribute- “a real gentleman”. John had immense patience, he was calm, thorough beyond words and he was determined, focused and compassionate. Many people who remember John as an activist knew that he always thought about the “bigger picture”, about building sustainable structures and the power of the collective to bring about change.

He was a dedicated engineer and loving father who also served with distinction in so many organisations and campaigns that have progressed the rights of disabled people in Ireland. May he rest in power.

ILMI would like to express our deepest condolences to John’s two children, his mother,  his sisters, brother, his extended family and friends at this time.

https://rip.ie/death-notice/dr-john-roche-churchtown-dublin/487040

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the sudden passing of our friend and comrade, Dr John Roche.

John passed away at the weekend and leaves a huge legacy with the disability rights Movement in Ireland. He was actively involved in so many organisations and campaigns over the last 30 years and would have been well known and liked by so many activists from across the country.

John’s disability activism began in college, stretching back to 1988 when he became treasurer of Cambridge Disabled Access and Transport Group while studying for his PhD in Cambridge University. John was involved in the Independent Living Movement since joining the Center for Independent Living’s pilot personal assistance programme (INCARE) in 1994. He remained a long term campaigner for independent living supports to empower disabled people to lead independent lives of their own choosing. He served on the boards of Independent Living Community Services (1996 to 1998) and Greater Dublin Independent Living (2007 to 2019). He was also an active member and board member of Muscular Dystrophy Ireland (MDI), serving as chairperson for the last three years.

John joined the board of CIL as a casual vacancy in 2017 and was elected to the board in January 2018. John played an active role as CIL transformed into ILMI, especially in ensuring that ILMI set high standards for Governance and Transparency and Strategic Planning. He was very keen that ILMI as a Movement continue to encourage younger disabled people to become active to build sustainability in all of our work. He was also actively involved in ILMI developing a political campaign to legislate for a right to Personal Assistance.

He was a firm believer that education opens doors to employment opportunities and the role of Personal Assistance Services (PAS) and other independent living supports are the keys to inclusion for disabled people. John was a key member of the Leaders Alliance who were involved in direct action in 2012 when cuts to the PAS were threatened. John and other activists held overnight protests and won a reversal against proposed cuts to PAS. John played an active role in that campaign, speaking eloquently to media. His kindness and generosity was also evident during the campaign, checking in on the morale of fellow activists. That was the measure of John, who was a genuinely gentle soul, who was thoughtful and soft spoken, but who also had a wicked sense of humour.

John’s legacy was that he took on key management roles and gave them time and energy to bring structure to organisations when they were needed. This was evident in his work in ILMI over the last four years, and he was very proud of how the organisation had grown and developed, and his considerable role behind the scenes in making that happen.

He will be fondly remembered firstly as a kind and thoughtful person- as so many people said in developing this tribute- “a real gentleman”. John had immense patience, he was calm, thorough beyond words and he was determined, focused and compassionate. Many people who remember John as an activist knew that he always thought about the “bigger picture”, about building sustainable structures and the power of the collective to bring about change.

He was a dedicated engineer and loving father who also served with distinction in so many organisations and campaigns that have progressed the rights of disabled people in Ireland. May he rest in power.

ILMI would like to express our deepest condolences to John’s two children, his mother,  his sisters, brother, his extended family and friends at this time.

https://rip.ie/death-notice/dr-john-roche-churchtown-dublin/487040