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ILMI eBulletin October 1st 2019
Welcome to the 47th ILMI eBulletin.

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ILMI Dates for Your Diary
  • October 4th, 10am - 1pm, CLF Conference "Is the Disability Act Working for Us?", Temple Gate Hotel Ennis
  • October 8th, Galway Activism Meeting, 11.30am - 1pm, NUIG
Please call the office on 01 8730455 for more information or email 
ILMI Team News

ILMI AGM and Conference 'Nothing About Us Without Us: What does Representation Mean in Building a Grassroots DPO'

Photo shows some of the participants at the ILMI Conference on September 26th

In our Strategic Plan 2019 –2022 one of our core objectives is leadership and representation, where we aim that “Independent Living Movement Ireland’s work will continue to be led and represented by disabled people at all levels. ILMI will create structures to generate evidence-based policies and expertise based on lived experience” .
Another strategic aim is political campaigning and strategic policy development where we aim to “empower members to be active agents of social change by participating in collective strategic campaigns to promote independent living and ensure effective policy development and implementation”.
With almost a year working on the plan, our annual conference took place on Saturday 28th September where disability activists came from across Ireland to collectively reflect on what progress we have made, and what we need to do to realise these aims. One of the challenges in building a representative disabled person’s organisation (DPO) is: building a collective with shared analysis, approach and a commitment to working together. In order to generate discussion, we were privileged to be joined by ILMI members Elaine Howley, Padraig Hannafin and Seònaid Ó Murchadha as well as disability activists from the UK Colin Cameron, Maggie Cameron and Ellis Palmer.
ILMI ONSIDE health and Housing and officer James Casey was MC for the panel discussion and a lively open mic session. There was huge energy and ideas about how to represent disabled people, disability equality, the importance of language, tokenism, the need for disabled people to work collectively and the need for ILMI to provide strategic focussed campaigns for people to mobilise on.
ILMI would like to thank our panellists for their time and expertise and all the activists who joined us on Saturday for a wonderful event which will hopefully provide us with energy and ideas into the remainder of 2019 and beyond. A live stream of the debate can be accessed as a video on the ILMI Facebook page.
Prior to the Conference, ILMI had a very successful AGM, which included a strong debate on a developing a declaration to service providers, Statutory bodies and NGOs on what “Nothing About Us Without Us” means. This will be circulated as a press release in due course this week. From the AGM the members of ILMI re-elected Selina Bonnie, Audrey Brodigan, Sarah Fitzgerald, Shelly Gaynor, Dermot Hayes, Des Kenny, Sinead Murtagh, Michael Nestor, Dr John Roche, Gordon Ryan as the board of ILMI for 2019 / 2020. Many thanks for all ILMI members for their participation at the AGM.

Make Way Day Clare

Photo shows Make Way Day participants from the Clare Leader Forum.

On Thursday the 26th of September the Clare Leader Forum took part in Make Way Day 2019. As part of their ongoing work students from the Forum, who completed the LIT Certificate in Advocacy and Leadership this year, worked with Clare County Council to bring Make Way Day to Clare in 2019. Findings from the Forum’s accessibility audit will be presented as part of the CLF conference on October 4th.

Is the Disability Act 2005 Working for Us?

Photo shows the poster for the CLF event on October 4th.

On Friday October 4th the Clare Leader Forum, in partnership with the Citizens Information Centre Clare and Clare Local Development Company, will host a conference "Is the Disability Act 2005 Working for Us?" Taking place in the Temple Gate Hotel from 10am to 1pm, this conference is open to all disabled people and their supporters with registration on the morning from 9.30am. Finian McGrath, Minister for Disability Issues, will address delegates on the day with keynote speakers from the NDA, National Advocacy Service, Clare Citizens Advice Centre and Clare County Council. Testimonies will follow from people with the lived experience to demonstrate how the Disability Act 2005 impacts on our lives. If you would like further information on this event please contact Susan on 086 1712648 or email 

Introducing Maryam Madani, ILMI’s new Intern

Photo shows new ILMI Interm Maryam Madani

My 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.
As for myself, I am 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). I've worked as a journalist, jazz singer and housing activist for Dublin Central Housing Network. My 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. I am honoured to work for a DPO which espouses these ideals and which is genuinely led by disabled people for a change. I can be contacted at

Galway Activism October Meeting

Photo shows a call out for the next Galway Activism Meeting
Galway Activism will meet again on October 8th in NUIG. The group is open to any disabled people who are based in Galway and want to be part of a new and exciting movement. If you are interested in being part of a truly representative DPO and want to know more about how you can take part please contact Susan on 086 1712648 or email


HSE National Disability Services Sharing Day

Photo shows ILMI Chairperson Shelly Gaynor and ONSIDE Team Member James Casey at the HSE Conference

The first National Disability Services Sharing Day took place in the Pillar Room of the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin on Wednesday 25th of September. Leigh Gath, the HSE Independent Confidential Recipient was one of the keynote speakers at the event. ILMI was represented by James Casey and Shelley Gaynor and both worked hard and engaged in lively discussion about ILMI’s core values of independence, disability, and human rights, in addition to independent living practices with many of the attendees. There was a real, genuine, interest and appetite for what we do and what we stand for as a collective and we will build upon many new and positive connections. 

Freedom Drive 2019

Photo shows ENIL Freedom Drive 2019 participant Vicky Matthews with Irish MEPs at the October 1st meeting.
The 9th annual European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) Freedom Drive take place from the 1st to the 3rd of October this year. The Freedom Drive provides supporters of the Independent Living Movement with the unique opportunity to meet MEPs and promote human rights issues, as well to share experiences and ideas with colleagues from around Europe. Its rich programme includes the ENIL General Assembly, a conference with sessions on multiple topics, a meeting of the ENIL Youth Network and the culmination – a noisy march to the European Parliament where Freedom Drivers meet with MEPs. The first 6 editions of the Freedom Drive took place in Strasbourg, until 2015, when for the first time the location was changed to Brussels for strategic reasons.
This year Ireland will be represented by Vicky Matthews who met with Irish MEPs on October 1st to discuss the ENIL Freedom Drive demands from an Irish perspective. These demands include:
  • Mainstream disability in all policy areas and ensure that the future European disability Strategy is fully aligned with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its general comments.
  • End institutional care and promote access to community-based services and Personal assistance for all those in need.
  • Promote the freedom of movement for all by working towards a common European social framework.
We wish Vicky the very best of luck and look forward to working with all Irish MEPs to progress the issues raised over the coming months.

All Together in Dignity (ATD) Ireland launch “Does it Only Happen to me?

Photo shows the ATD Ireland Launch

On September 18th ATD Ireland launched its report of its "Does it only happen to me?" , a collection of stories and reflections from individuals with experiences of social and economic discrimination in their interactions with public sector services. The project is a contribution to the wider campaign to have the ground of social and economic discrimination recognised in Irish and European equality legislation.
Disadvantaged socioeconomic status is defined as the “socially identifiable status of social or economic disadvantage resulting from poverty, level or source of income, homelessness, place of residence, or family background”.
The event highlighted the lived experience of people who have experienced discrimination based on their socioeconomic status, its impact on people’s lives and the need to work collectively to ensure the Equality legislation is amended to provide protection. The discussion noted on the day that many people would suffer double discrimination based on other identities, such as gender or disability as they intersected with marginalisation based on socioeconomic status.
Speakers on the day included Judy Walsh, Head of Subject for Social Justice and the Director of the UCD Equality Studies Centre UCD; Niall Crowley, Equality and Human Rights Expert; and Jim O'Callaghan TD, Fianna Fáil who introduced a bill to amend the Equality legislation to include socioeconomic status back in 2017. The research was officially launched by Independent Senator Lynn Ruane and can be accessed here

ESRI/IHREC Consultation on Decent Work

Photo shows the ESRI Launch

On Monday 23rd September the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) held a consultation on how to develop a framework for monitoring access to decent work.  The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) is working with the ESRI to develop a framework for monitoring economic and social rights in Ireland, beginning with the topic of Decent work.
ILMI was invited to be part of the process with other civil society and statutory organisations to look at how the ESRI would develop indicators, based on equality and human rights, to assess how Ireland fares in promoting access and participation for workers in decent work. It will look at structures (laws, including domestic and international equality and human rights legislation), processes (how policies relating to employment are being implemented) and outcomes (experience of workers and results of policies).
The ESRI will now work on developing a monitoring framework based on the consultation which will focus on key areas such as monitoring access to employment, job security and rates of pay. We will keep everyone informed of future updates on this important piece of work.

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