Chief Executive – Damien Walshe
Damien joined CIL in October 2017 and has over 15 years experience in equality and human rights organisations, including the Irish Traveller Movement, the Equality and Rights Alliance and Aontas. Damien is keen to bring previous experience of actively engaging and supporting people to work collectively in to CIL to ensure that people with disabilities see CIL as a vehicle for change to bring about equality in Irish society.
Nina joined CIL in 2011 to work on what was then called the Strasbourg Freedom Drive now the Brussels Freedom Drive and has worked on many other projects where she helped coordinate the communications and event management, including the Mansion House “Meet your TD” event where CILs and their members from around the country came to speak with their local representative. Nina also worked on the Personal Assistance Bill project and the Disability Studies course run in conjunction with NUI Maynooth.
With a background in corporate communications and marketing a degree in Graphic Design and Fine Art Nina has a diverse range of experience and skills and bring them all to the Irish Independent Living movement. The CIL eBulletin, the CIL Social media accounts and maintaining links with and building the CIL membership are part of her day to day work.
Development Officer – Susan O’Brien
Susan has been employed with CIL since 2003. Prior to joining CIL she graduated from NUIG with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. Susan went on to study for a Masters in Business Studies where she specialised in Electronic Commerce. She was a member of the academic team in NUIG for two years before going on to work in logistics management for a multinational healthcare manufacturer. Susan’s original role with CIL centered on European development. She is currently the Development Officer.
Policy Officer – James Cawley
James joined ILMI in August 2018. He graduated with a BA in Business and Geography and a Professional Masters of Education at Maynooth University. Previous to his role with ILMI James was a secondary school teacher and has done research on disability issues on a National and European level. James is a leader of his Personal Assistant service (PAS) which allows him to live a life of choice, dignity and respect.
ONSIDE Project Coordinator – Peter Kearns
Peter started work with ILMI in June 2019 as ONSIDE Project Coordinator. Peter graduated from Trinity College in the late 1980s with an English Honours degree and followed this with an MA in Film & TV Studies at DCU and a Higher Diploma in Adult & Community Education from Maynooth College. He also has higher Dips. in Disability Studies and Arts European Mentoring. Peter lectured at St. Angela’s College (NUIG) and has written-up QQ1-Level 8 & 9 Modules promoting a need for a Emancipatory-Advocacy way of thinking & practice for & with disabled people. In the mid 1990’s Peter established THE WORKHOUSE, a disability consultancy company involved in equality/mentor/arts training in Ireland, Europe and Asia. In terms of linking social model led disability equality with effective practice on the ground, Peter was a Community Support Consultant with Disability Equality Specialist Support Agency (DESSA) and Development & Policy Worker with Forum of People With Disabilities.. He is also a writer/dramatist, documentary & film maker. Peter also enjoys extreme trekking and has two children Deirbhile & Oisin and lives in Co. Leitrim.
ONSIDE Health & Housing Officer – James Casey
I joined ILMI in June 2019 as the Disability, Health and Housing officer with the ONSIDE project. Professionally, my background is in teaching and research and for several years I taught courses on film, media and literature in university. I have worked as an equality awareness consultant, an editor and as a reviewer for several international journals. I hold a BA in English and Philosophy, a MA in Film Studies and a PhD. My research focussed on how films represent and construct disability and impairments.
As a disabled person, I understand, and appreciate, the importance of the social model and how it has transformed our lives, our thinking and our fight for equality, but yet I am aware there are still challenges for us to meet as a collective. Disability equality is part of the wider equality movement, it is a matter of human rights, and we can achieve real and permanent change together. It is an exciting time to be part of independent living and disability rights movements.
ONSIDE Community Navigator Monaghan / Louth – Edel McGinley
Edel joined ILMI in June 2019 as Community Navigator (Monaghan/Louth) with the ONSIDE Project. Edel graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work from Queens University Belfast in 2010. Since this she has worked in a variety of roles empowering people to take control of their own lives and fulfil their potential. Edel has experience supporting individuals with disabilities, mental health issues, long- term unemployment and addictions. Edel previously worked on a cross border project supporting disabled people overcome challenges to participating in everyday activities and become active citizens within their community. Edel is enthusiastic to be part of the ONSIDE Project and utilise her previous experience to help address social isolation amongst disabled people.
ONSIDE Project Administrator – Angela Coleman
My name is Angela Coleman, and I have joined ILMI as Part Time Administrator for the ONSIDE Project.
I have worked in the community sector for over 15 years, and hope to bring my experience and expertise to the role, and to support all members of the team.
ONSIDE Community Navigator Donegal / Sligo – Orla Beirne
Orla joined ILMI in August 2019 and is the Community Navigator for the Donegal and Sligo region with the ONSIDE Project.
Orla graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Health and Disability studies from St Angela’s College, Sligo in 2014 and was accredited a Certificate in Training Delivery and Evaluation from the Open College Dublin in 2016. Before her role with ILMI, Orla worked as a Personal Assistant, Community Support Worker and delivered training programmes to different groups.
Orla has experience of delivering a social model service to disabled people in the community. This service involved supporting individuals to enhance their health and wellbeing by developing a personal action plan supporting them to identify their options and/or opportunities. Personal action plans entailed the individual engaging with mainstream facilities/services to increase their participation in all aspects of their lives.
ONSIDE Community Navigator Leitrim / Cavan – Marie Gilligan
Marie joined ILMI in August 2019 as a Community Navigator (Cavan/Leitrim) on the ONSIDE project. The lived experience of the many challenges faced by disabled people motivated Marie’s return to education ten years ago. Having just completed an MA in Leadership and Management for the Community and Public Sector (St Angela’s College NUIG), Marie also has a Hons Degree in Health and Disability Studies (St Angela’s College NUIG), a Certificate in Disability Equality and Advocacy (Sligo IT), and a Certificate in Training and Evaluation. Her research proposal and thesis were on Disability Equality and Sexuality an area rarely touched on.
Professionally as a Community Support Worker, Marie facilitated disabled people to access activities of their choice within the community by working with them to address barriers they may face in a positive manner. She also has many years’ experience facilitating workshops on Disability Equality through her work and studies.
ILMI Intern – Maryam Madani
Maryam started at the end of September 2019 and her role as intern for the next six months will involve working with the staff team to build on the work of previous interns in building a political lobbying database to ensure that all councillors, TDs and senators are aware of ILMI as a DPO, are perhaps willing to support and engage with us, and that ILMI’s policy discussions are disseminated to them.
Maryam is a proud disabled woman and wheelchair user with a BA in English Honours from Trinity College Dublin and an MA in Journalism from TU Dublin (DIT). She has worked as a journalist, jazz singer and housing activist for Dublin Central Housing Network. Her MA thesis on media representation of disability in the abortion referendum coverage highlighted the lack of self-representation of disabled people and lack of awareness of the social model in the discussion, issues which are central to ILMI’s philosophy. She is am honoured to work for a DPO which espouses these ideals and which is genuinely led by disabled people for a change.