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Welcome to our September 4th E-Bulletin


Image reads: "If a Year was tucked inside of a clock, then Autumn would be the magic hour"- Victoria Eriksen.
In This Issue: Dermot Hayes' nostalgic piece on the early days of Clare's independent living movement; ILMI's Upcoming Social Nights with singer/songwriter Rory Gallagher, disabled BIPOC model Clara Holmes, and screenwriter Christian O'Reilly. 
What's In This Issue:
How Thing Were Then: The Roots of the Independent Living Movement in Clare

Photo shows seasoned Clare disability activist and ILMI Vice Chairperson, Dermot Hayes

It was 1992 when I and a few other disability activists from around Clare met in what we called the Shed- officially known as Clare Resource Centre and Workers’ Co-operative. The nearest village was 2 miles away and Ennis was 11 miles away.
Language is very important. Words like handicapped, invalid, crature, or misfortunate were regular words by local and national media. Locals used these terms as well. We, the newly formed Disabled People of Clare set about addressing this issue of language to local media. This has not fully died away yet.
Charity was a big thing then and still is in Clare. Also, offers to send one to Lourdes in order that one may get a cure or some miracle. Many of us giggled at this false advertising as we saw it.

As for what brought me into the movement: I had always been active in the community since I was a young teenager. As I was getting older my disability became more of a limiting factor. So, setting up a meeting and working with people with similar issues seemed the right thing to do, as there were many things like access, jobs, education, discrimination, and legislation that needed sorting out.
By 1995 we had secured a FÁS scheme with the aid of Martin Naughton and CIL in Dublin. This gave us an incentive to get a structure in our week and do some creative work. By 1997 we moved to Ennis, into a splendid office with lots of space but with serious responsibilities. We employed staff and we had to pay rent. We bought an accessible bus from Lottery funding. This gave us great freedom.
 One of the funnier moments during those early years was the following: we were getting to know our local council and staff; by 1998 we had built up a good relationship with Ennis Town Clerk, whose mother was a wheelchair user. We often sited the lack of public toilet access in Ennis. The Town Clerk was very supportive and knew of a new development in public accessible toilets in the UK. He got some money and built two new ones in Ennis. We were asked to help officially open it. We have a great laugh at the idea.
In 1998 we got money to work on a play called “A Wake in the West” by P.J Curtis. It was set in rural Ireland and about mourning the loss of a friend and the closing of a shop. A number of us took part in acting and this play took us to Belfast and Dublin as well as around the county. That was a great memory. The same year we got EU money to make a CD called “Entitlements,” with disability rights themes. We were awarded with a trip to Brussels, two nights, and met Commissioner Padraig Flynn.
That was then, more to come.
Dermot Hayes

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The Week Ahead with ILMI

Photo shows the timetable of ILMI's online communities this week

Monday September 7th to Friday 11th:

  • Tuesday: 3pm- PAS Online Community; 7.30pm- Full Spectrum LGBT+ Group Space
  • Thursday: 7pm- ILMI Women's Group
  • Friday: 1pm- Clare County Platform

Guidance on Resumption of PAS during Covid: HSE Consultation 

Photo shows screenshot of the HSE Consultation with assorted ILMI members and staff

On Friday 28th August ILMI met with the National Disability Quality Improvement team in the HSE on writing guidance for the provision/resumption of Personal Assistance Services for disabled people in line with Covid - 19 restrictions. Leaders came together on Friday via zoom to feed in what were the main issues facing them during the pandemic and guided the HSE on what should be in guidance going forward for our PAS in line with Covid restrictions.

This was an initial meeting and it is hoped that leaders can feed into follow up meetings in the future.

If you are interested in getting involved, please email

Callout for Trainers- Leader Training

Photo shows the call for people to participate in the ILMI Leader Training.

Are you interested in promoting the Independent Living Philosophy? Do you have a passion for Independent Living (IL) and protecting our Personal Assistance Service (PAS)? Then you may be the person we are looking for. We are working to establish a panel of Independent Living trainers across Ireland, who will work with us on an ongoing basis to deliver our Leader Training Programme.

What is the ILMI Leader Training Programme?
In ILMI we recognise that leading our own PAS is a complex role, which requires recognition of the unique relationship that exists between our PAs and us as Leaders. In response we have developed a distinctive training programme that recognises the challenge this presents and the information we need to take our first step toward IL. ILMI’s Leader Training programme aims to put us back in control of our PAS. By providing us with a range of information on Independent Living and our role as a Leader it aims to give us the confidence to lead our services in an effective way.
This programme has been successfully delivered across Ireland during 2019 and into 2020. As a reaction to COVID19 and to ensure ongoing support for Leaders who were interested in participating but limited by travel restrictions the programme went virtual earlier this year. The first phase of the training has now been rolled out and we are looking to progress with suitable Leaders delivering the virtual second phase.

Who are we Looking for?
If you think you may be the person to support us in the rollout of our Leader Training programme, we want to hear from you! As this training is specific to PAS ideally you would:

  • Be in receipt of a PAS.
  • Have a passion for Independent Living.
  • Have an awareness of the work of ILMI.
  • Have the confidence to deliver relevant material on Independent Living online to other potential Leaders and answer any questions they may have.
  • Be proficient in Microsoft Office.
  • Have a working knowledge of Zoom.
No previous training experience is required as we will work with you to ensure you are confident in delivering our programme online.

I'm Interested! What Next?
Training will commence in September and run throughout October into November so you would need to have flexibility in your availability during this time. If you would like to get involved then simply email James Cawley with your details.

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PAS Now!

ILMI are currently working with a number of Local Authorities to ensure our Right to Personal Assistance Services (PAS) is supported at a local level. This follows on from our #PASNOW campaign, which saw Deputy Thomas Pringle bring an historic Motion before the Dail in 2019 requesting support for our right to PAS. As we are aware that Motion got unanimous support at national level and we are now working to ensure that similar support is secured at a local level. 
On December 9th Galway City became the first Council to support the Motion, which was quickly followed by Longford County Council. To date one third of Local Authorities have voted in support of the Motion.
If you would like to work with us to ensure your Council is actively supporting your right to PAS in 2020 then do let us know and we will be happy to assist you. You can contact Susan by email or by calling 086 1712648 for further information.

ILMI Thursday Social Nights

Photo shows next guest, singer/songwriter Rory Gallagher

ILMI are delighted to introduce Donegal singer/songwriter Rory Gallagher, our next guest in the line-up for the Social Nights Programme on Thursdays. Rory's event will take place on 17th September from 8-9pm. 
Rory was the bass player and lead vocalist with Irish Indie/Pop/Punk group 'The Revs' from 2000 to 2007. The Revs had 2 Top 5 albums in Ireland, and "Rory and The Island," Gallagher's project name since 2010, has had 10 top 40 songs in the Irish iTunes charts, with "Jimmy's Winning Matches" breaking through to the actual overall Irish top 10 in Oct 2012
Rory has worked with artists as varied as Sharon Shannon, Josh McClorey, Finbar Furey, Steve Brown (The Cult, Manic Street Preachers), Paul Brady, Paul Harrington, Wallis Bird
and Nick Seymour (Crowded House) to name a few.
Rory now performs Facebook live gigs on his page every weekend eagerly awaiting a return to busy live music venues.

He will be followed by Clara Holmes, a disabled BIPOC fashion model and public speaker, on October 1st from 8-9pm, and playwright/screenwriter Christian O'Reilly, of "Inside I'm Dancing" and "Sanctuary" fame, on 15th October.

More guest speakers will be announced over the next few weeks.

For more information on the social nights or if you would like to register for any of these spaces, please contact

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Cork Community Platform

ILMI are creating an online platform to create an opportunity for disabled people in Cork City and County to stay socially connected and find out information on the various supports and services in your local community. We have guest speakers from mainstream services that provide information and talk about what is available to you during COVID-19 and beyond. If you have an interest in this new Cork Community then please register your interest at 

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ILMI Photography Course

Photo shows Dave McKane, ILMI Photography Instructor

Every Monday at 3pm, ILMI will be Zooming a second 'live' introduction Course to using your mobile phone camera to create a Covid-19 short story by images.
ILMI are inviting new participants, and those that took part in our spring photography course, to join photographer & Tutor Dave McKane in creating your very own "I'm the Captain of my own mobile phone 'Reportage' storyteller ship of tales".
Old and new students will be learning to document through a storyboard of mobile photos how disabled adults are experts at tackling the Covid-Crisis. At the end of the course, the photos will be exhibited on ILMI's brand new on-line Hidden-Shadow Art Gallery, which is being developed by ILMI's Dr James Casey, Peter Kearns and our PR/Media guru Maryam Madani.

ILMI Photography Course Tutor Dave McKane will ask students to see themselves as disabled activists wishing to tell a story about positive change in time of Covid-19, through a series of photos about overcoming disabling isolation barriers. Our ILMI Covid-'war-photographers' will be also moving-on to engage with hints and tips for choosing a particular “look” for their projects. Plus, using filters and other image processing techniques, as guidelines for consistent visual story telling and Dave's regular comment and critique on their weekly reportage photo submissions to ILMI's 'Free' course. While the new autumn 8-week course is being funded by Leitrim County Council and ILMI is keen to attract members old and new from the north west, the Monday afternoon 3pm to 4pm workshops are also open to all ILMI members - email your name and phone contact to:

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On Wednesday 2nd September, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) published an overview of its regulation in designated centres for disabled people in 2019. HIQA carried out over 1,000 inspections in disability services in 2019.

Inspections found that the majority of centres provided a good quality of care and support to residents and there was increased compliance in key areas, such as protection and social care, across centres since 2018.

However, many residents living in congregated settings experience a poor quality of service and life and are inappropriately placed there. Some disabled people continue to live in large institutions or campuses and are at greater risk of having a poor quality of life compared to disabled people who live in the community or live independently with the support of a Personal Assistance Service (PAS). Disabled people in congregated settings are often separated from their local communities and continue to live in unsuitable, outdated accommodation and cannot fully exercise their basic human rights.

View HIQA’s full annual overview report on the inspection and regulation of disability services in 2019 here

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