Independent Living Movement Ireland

Press release in response to Irish Rail

Press Release from the Independent Living Movement Ireland

“The constant lack of consideration for our independence, needs and human rights is not only incredibly frustrating but also insulting.”

On Tuesday Irish Rail “excitedly” announced “The first of our 41 new intercity rail cars have just left the Hyundai Rotem Factory in Korea to ship to Ireland. We expect the first vehicles to arrive in September and they will enter service next year”. However Independent Living Movement Ireland (ILMI) as a national DPO would like to stress that this huge investment in public transport for All still leads to segregation for more than 13% of the population. Although many disabled people have given their time, energy and expertise without recompense in order to facilitate what were meant to be meaningful consultative processes. It now seems all that input has been ignored and the outcome is still about giving notice i.e. 4 hours or 24 hours in some cases in order to travel by train and hope that the (brilliant) staff are there on the other end and/or the ramp is working correctly. ILMI is dismayed that a lost opportunity for a more inclusive national travel network has slipped through the hands of all the key stakeholders, decision makers, watchdogs and consumers.

ILMI Member Marcus Ward commented “I am so disappointed to have learned that the brand new carriages bought by Irish Rail will require staff to manually lift the wheelchair ramps. I cannot understand how a solution can’t be implemented in which a wheelchair user can go straight on to the train, especially with the technologies that we have nowadays. The LUAS has a system in which the tram is at the same level as the tram, and so I can go straight on to the tram. Marcus went on to say “The constant lack of consideration for our independence needs and human rights is not only incredibly frustrating but also insulting. Disabled people are the experts in their own needs and it’s about time our expert opinions were listened to in a meaningful way”.

ILMI’s policy officer James Cawley underpins many people’s ire by pointing out “Once again Ireland is not fulfilling its obligations under the UNCRPD.

Article 9 defines “Accessibility” as “fundamental” and requires countries to meet their obligations on Transport by removing barriers for all citizens. It states Disabled People should enjoy Transport services equal to others.  Transport is one of our strategic aims and a pillar of Independent Living and should be accessible and not only that, “useable” in the same vein as everyone else expects. If a national service is being upgraded then why wouldn’t every citizen in Ireland benefit. James added “especially as they were specifically consulted. Disabled people the length and breadth of Ireland outlined real concerns and real solutions that ultimately were ignored during the purchasing process” James added he was extremely disappointed but not surprised.


Contact: James Cawley, ILMI policy Officer or 086 774 4991

Information for Editors:
Who is ILMI? 

Independent Living Movement Ireland (ILMI) was established in 1992 by and for people with disabilities with the main aim of ensuring that disabled people 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, emotional distress and sensory impairments.

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