Press Release from Independent Living Movement Ireland (ILMI)

EMBARGOED UNTIL Saturday 22nd September

Independent Living Movement Ireland launches as new Disabled Person’s Organisation campaigning for freedom, choice and control for disabled people in Ireland.

Today (Saturday 22nd 2018) Minister of State for Disability Issues Finian McGrath TD formally launched Independent Living Movement Ireland (ILMI) and its new three year strategic plan in the Spencer Hotel at their conference “Building a Movement for Change: Working together to fight for disabled people’s human rights in the 21st Century”.

“Central to disabled people achieving equality and having their human rights protected is the principle “Nothing About Us Without Us”. Independent Living Movement Ireland is about building a collective, grassroots organisation across the island of Ireland to be the voice of disabled people in the development of policies and practices lived on the lived experience of disabled people. We are the experts in our own lives, we know what needs to change and in ILMI, we will build an organisation that empowers disabled people to collectively lobby and campaign for that change” said Shelly Gaynor, Chair of ILMI.

Commenting on the launch of ILMI, Minister of State for Disability Issues Finian McGrath TD said “Having ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People, it is vital to recognise the role of Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) to monitor the implementation of the Convention.”

“I congratulate ILMI on their new strategic plan and wish them success on building on the legacy of the Center for Independent Living.”

As part of the launch of the new strategic plan and website delegates at the conference discussed strategies for building a strong collective voice in campaigning for change. “Our strategic plan will focus on the four pillars of Independent Living over the next three years: Personal Assistance, Housing, Transport and Employment. We’ve begun engaging disabled people across the country to campaign for a real Personal Assistance Service” said Ms Gaynor. “The Personal Assistance Service is a key tool that allows many disabled people to live independently. It needs to be defined that it is led by disabled people not service providers, it needs legislative protection, it needs to be invested in to ensure people can get the hours they need to live independently, and it needs to be promoted

“Our new strategic plan is based on three core objectives: Leadership and Representation; Equality and Human rights; and Strategic Political Campaigning. All the objectives are interlinked and central to them being effective is building a grassroots collective approach, where disabled people across the country become active participants in the Movement, are empowered to be part of policy development and political campaigns, and that the Movement is led by disabled people” said ILMI CEO Damien Walshe. “

“Building a Movement for Change needs disabled people to become actively involved and see ILMI as a vehicle for getting involved in collective action. People are stronger together, and a collective voice can be heard” added Mr Walshe.

Information for Editors:

CIL, trading as Independent Living Movement Ireland, was established in Carmichael House in 1992 by and for people with disabilities with the main aim of ensuring that people with disabilities achieved Independent Living, choice and control over their lives and full participation in society as equal citizens.

We are a campaigning, national representative organisation that promotes the philosophy of independent living and to build an inclusive society. Central to the way we work is to ensure that policy decisions that impact on the lives of disabled people have to be directly influenced by those whose lives are directly affected.

Our philosophy can be summed up as: ‘Nothing about us without us!’ and ‘Rights Not Charity’.

Our Vision

Our vision is an Ireland where disabled persons have freedom, choice and control over all aspects of their lives and can fully participate in an inclusive society as equals


We are working collectively to create an independent living Movement in Ireland which is led by disabled people and promotes a rights-based social model of disability, challenging the unacceptable charity / medical model of disability. We are working towards the removal of societal barriers that prevent active equal participation of disabled people, challenging the denial of people’s rights and the promotion of the philosophy of independent living.

Core Values

Our core values are underpinned by the philosophy of Independent Living and all activities are aimed towards promoting:

  • Independence
  • Options
  • Rights
  • Empowerment
Our Principles
  • We promote the active participation of leaders in all aspects of the work of ILMI: locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
  • We are a DPO (disabled persons organisation) formed to ensure that the voice of disabled people will be heard in campaigns, research and policy development.
  • We recognise and promote equality within our members, in terms of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, age, marital status, socio-economic status and impairment.
  • We will actively promote an understanding of disability as an interaction between a person’s impairment and the societal and environmental barriers that disable people’s participation in society – and actively lobby to remove these barriers to participation and challenge the unacceptable medical / charity model of disability.
  • We are committed that ILMI continue to develop new innovative models to achieve equality of outcome, recognising that people have a variety of abilities, needs and wants.

Independent Living Movement Ireland recognises that language is a very powerful and evocative tool. Therefore, the language and terminology used in this press release has been carefully chosen to reflect the values of equality and empowerment which at the core of this organisation. The term ‘disabled people’ has been used throughout the press release in accordance with the UPIAS classification of disability and impairment which has been developed by disabled people themselves (UPIAS 1976). Where disabled people are referred to in the website this should be understood to include all disabled people, including those with learning difficulties, mental health difficulties and sensory impairments.

For more information, contact Communications Manager Nina Byrne on
or mobile 086 774 4992