Independent Living Movement Ireland

Our Board

Des Kelly | ILMI

Des Kenny

ILMI Chairperson

Selina Bonnie | ILMI

Selina Bonnie, MA

(ILMI Vice Chairperson)

Jacqui Browne | ILMI

Jacqui Browne

ILMI Secretary

Seonaid O'Murchadha | ILMI

Seònaid Ó Murchadha

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Des Kenny

ILMI Chairperson

I am deeply appreciative of the invitation to join the board of ILMI where I hope my experience will add to the commitment and talents of the existing members in furthering the vision and values of an organisation pivotal in shaping the new inclusive future for persons with disabilities to be won through the interpretations and application of the articles of the UNCRPD.

I am now enjoying an active life following my retirement from my post as Chief Executive Officer of the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI) in mid-2014. This retirement came after 28 years at the helm of Ireland’s premier agency working with blind and low vision people. Prior to joining NCBI, I had headed up the Union of Voluntary Organisations for the Handicapped (operating under a more appropriate title today of “the Disability Federation of Ireland”). I came to that role in 1980 from the National League of the Blind of Ireland (NLBI). In the NLBI I held the post as general secretary of this specialist trade union responsible for the employment conditions of people working in the sheltered workshops for the blind and for persons working in the public service in the designated occupation of “blind telephonist”. I enjoyed an activist learning relationship with trade union leaders of individual unions and of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

I have been fortunate to have contributed to policy development and organised lobbying during the near-50 years of continuous employment from the time I left the special residential school for the blind in Dublin which I had attended after a childhood accident left me blind

I have been a board member of the National Rehabilitation Board, the Combat Poverty Agency, and served two four-year terms on the National Disability Authority (NDA). I was a founder member of the Not for Profit Business Association and chairman for some years prior to my retirement. I hold an MSC-Econ in health care management and hold an MBA from the Open University.

I have published two volumes of poetry: “My Sense of Blind” and “Past Tense” These slim volumes are available in paper and Kindle versions from Amazon. I also publish my poems and write literary critiques on (an online journal publishing writers with disabilities and advancing our inclusion into mainstream publishing.

Selina Bonnie, MA

ILMI Vice Chairperson

Selina Bonnie is an Indian / Irish disabled woman who holds a Master’s Degree in Disability Studies from the University of Leeds. She has been an activist, lecturer and trainer in the international disabled people’s movement for the past 25 years. Her particular research interests centre on sexuality, sexual expression and reproductive rights for disabled people. She has been published on related topics in various fora including a chapter titled ‘Towards Sexual Citizenship: Dispelling the Myth of Disabled People’s Asexuality’, in the book Sexualities and Irish Society: A Reader. Selina is also a busy wife and mother who works full time for South Dublin County Council as their Disability Liaison, Access and Equality Officer.

Jacqui Browne

ILMI Secretary

Jacqui Browne is a member of the Disability Advisory Committee of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. IHREC is the Independent Monitoring Mechanism for the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in Ireland. Jacqui has over 30 years of experience as a disability equality activist and consultant. With a BA Degree in Economics & Politics from UCD and a Masters’ degree in Education from Trinity College Dublin she has many years of experience working at local, national, European and International levels. She is a former member of Commission on Status of People with Disabilities whose report A Strategy for Equality was a blueprint for disability rights in Ireland. Jacqui Chairs the recently established Coalition of Disabled Peoples Organisations (DPOs) whose core objective is to work together to develop a Shadow Report on the State’s first report to the UN on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Jacqui is also Chairperson of DESSA – the national Disability Equality Specialist Support Agency, a board member of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind and the Irish Thalidomide Association. Jacqui is also actively involved as a patient advocate in IPPOSI – the Irish Platform for Patient Organisations, Science and Industry and is a EUPATI Fellow – European Patient Advocacy Training Initiative.

Sinead Murtagh

Sinéad has been the director of since 2008 and has an extensive background in human rights and equality advocacy.

She has been at the forefront of the Disability Movement in Ireland for the last two decades. Sinéád has worked both as the CEO of a national NGO and for the State on Equality and Disability under the Department of Justice & Equality.

She is currently the chairperson of both Disabled People of Ireland and Saor Independent Living and serves on a number of other boards at national and local level.

Her educational background is in Psychology, Equality, Adult Education & Training and Universal Access (for all).

Brian Dalton

My name is Brian Dalton. I live in Dublin, am married with 2 children and I work in Aerlingus. From a young age, my parents encouraged and nurtured my independence by allowing me to make my own decisions. I’m totally blind, and a wheelchair user. At the age of 6, I decided I didn’t want artificial eyes, as they would not enable me to see, and I decided that I wanted to use a wheelchair at the age of 9, as it would give me a greater level of independence.

I went through primary, secondary and third level education, obtaining a master’s degree in Equality studies in the 1990’s.

My desire to become an activist, increased as I got older. I fought for a PA service to enable me to become more independent, and recently participated in the campaign and motion around the right to a Personal Assistant, as an ILMI member, by spreading the word on social media, attending the debate in the Dail and appearing on Radio to talk about and spread awareness about the campaign.

It’s my desire, that everyone has the right to make their own choices in life and live independently, if that’s their wish

Ann Maire Flanagan

I’ve been a member of ILMI for over 20 years.

I have vast personal, professional and governance experience:
  • 1992 – 2005 Co-founder the Disabled People of Clare; development of PA service, capacity building, public advocacy, accessible transport, inclusive arts etc
  • 1997- 2005 Vice-chair of DFI, a voice of DPO’s, advocating for independent living services.
  • 2002 – 2007 Chair of the Clare Women’s Network securing funding for a permanent coordinator
  • 1997/8 Director of the Forum of People with Disabilities
  • 2000’s Director and Chair of Clare Local Employment Service with state and C&V.

I work supporting mental health recovery. I worked as a Direct Payments advisor in the UK. This year I was privileged to be ILMI nominee for the Seanad. I have a Postgrad in Organisational Management, Masters in Partnership Studies (Social Inclusions) and currently undertaking a LLM in International Disability Law and Policy, NUIG. I offer a rural perspective for regional balance. I am a mother (9 year old). I ask you respectfully for your number 1. Thank you so much.

Seònaid Ó Murchadha

I am a triple amputee, full-time wheelchair and prosthetic user. From founding Amputee Disability Federation Ireland in 2004 to working with many organisations (ILO, EU and OECD) to promote the greater inclusion of disabled people in the workplace, I’ve always been passionate about advocacy and our rights.

I have worked in HR in the Rehab Group; and with the Association for Higher Education Access & Disability on their workplace placement programme, where I supported employers to recruit disabled graduates and advised disabled students on securing work. I managed the successful pilot initiative, the Employer Disability Information service advising employers on the recruitment, management and retention of disabled people. Recently, I was working with Dublin City University’s Centre of Excellence for Diversity and Inclusion helping organisations with diversity and inclusion.

I have regularly featured in national media highlighting the abilities of disabled people; I presented the RTE 1 TV programme Three60 and presented Outside the Box on RTE radio 1.

I am proud to represent ILMI on the Comprehensive Employment Strategy (for the Employment of Persons with Disabilities) Implementation Group and would greatly appreciate your vote to continue to advocate for our rights to access work and training.

Aoife McNicholl

My name is Aoife McNicholl and I am a disabled woman and wheelchair user. I am currently completing my PhD in psychology in DCU and lecture on the psychology programme in a number of areas such as research methods, psychology illness and disability and philosophy of psychology.

My research interests include assistive technology, disability and identity. On completing my PhD I hope to gain employment in the area of academia. I am delighted to have joined the board this year and look forward to promoting and guiding the growth of the organisation. I am passionate about disability activism and recently graduated from ILMI’s ‘Strategies for Change’ programme.

I firmly believe in the social model of disability and working towards a society where the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disability is truly implemented in Ireland.