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Welcome to our July 24th E-Bulletin

In this Issue: ILMI Women's Group Begins; Welcome to new board members; ILMI member Saoirse Smith on her activism experience with Dublin Bus
What's In This Issue:
ILMI Board Update and Welcome to New Board Members
Image shows ILMI Chairperson Des Kenny 

As we enter the second half of a very eventful 2020 I would like to take this opportunity to update you on the structure of the ILMI Board of Directors. The Board of Directors convened on Wednesday July 22nd. Part of this meeting was to examine vacancies that had arisen on the Board during the previous months.

As you are aware, our former Chairperson Shelly Gaynor stepped down from the Board in November 2019; this was followed shortly after by the resignation of Board Co-optee Marian Maloney and the recent resignation of Director Michael Nestor. On that basis, ILMI had two casual vacancies to fill and one co-option, which were addressed at the July 22nd meeting.

At this meeting the Board of Directors co-opted Jacqui Brown onto the Board. Brian Dalton and Seònaid Ó Murchadha were also welcomed onto the Board as casual vacancies. As a Board we are delighted to welcome our three new members and the considerable skills and expertise they will bring to the organisation. As per our Articles of Association, Brian and Seònaid will step down at the AGM but will be welcome to seek re-election. The Board has agreed a date for the ILMI AGM in early October, which due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions will be carried out via Zoom. Details of this AGM will be sent to all ILMI members as soon as possible.

On behalf of my fellow Board of Directors, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Michael Nestor for his considerable work over the last number of years. Michael came onto the Board in early 2017 when the organisation was going through a difficult patch, and together with Michael McCabe, Dermot Hayes, Dr. John Roche, Audrey Brodigan, Shelly Gaynor, Gordon Ryan and the late John Doyle he began the rebuilding process that has left the organisation in fine stead in 2020. His peers recognize his tireless commitment to the Independent Living movement both at local and national level and we thank him sincerely for his tireless service. We wish Michael well in his future endeavours and look forward to continue working with him on many more individual projects for years to come.

Des Kenny, ILMI Chairperson.


ILMI Member Saoirse Smith On Dublin Bus and Having her Voice Heard 
Image shows Saoirse Smith using the ramp prototype.
Dublin City Council have started work on transport infrastructure across the city. Current works are planned for the widening of the footpath at College Green between Trinity College and Church Lane. 
This measure will create additional space at this location for queueing at the bus stops while leaving the footpath clear for pedestrians.
ILMI member Saoirse Smith was invited along to give her thoughts on accessibility during the work.

“When I was first asked to look at the platform done by Dublin City Council, I was unsure what kind of platform it would be. I was provided with assistance by Dublin Bus to get to the platform. There I met with several others who were there to give advice including representatives from Dublin City Council and the NTA. The platform was okay but not great, the height was okay but coming off the platform it had a very steep ramp going down and to get back up you would have needed a lot of upper body strength. It would have been unsafe for most manual wheelchair users and people who use walkers. Also, for people who are visually impaired there were issues with contrast and not knowing where the platform began and ended. I had aired my issues with Dublin City Council and they seemed to have taken on board what I had said regarding issues on safety.

The second time I went to see the platform it was worse than the first time. It had a hill which made it more difficult to push up and it had a drain which made me lose momentum and I needed help to get up the ramp. When telling Dublin City Council this they asked me which drain I would prefer. I suggested none because it made me lose momentum. Eventually they suggested to widen the platform to make it easier which I agreed to. This was easier because the other representatives had agreed and backed up my point. The third platform was amazing and a hundred times better. The council had taken on board what I had said and what everyone else had said too. I had put the issues on social media to get feedback from other people, especially those with lived experience of disability. My opinion is important, but I cannot speak for everyone else. I was delighted to see that Dublin City Council had taken on board and heard our voices and listened to the authentic voices of disabled people.  

Subsequently, Dublin City Council made major improvements, in terms of the height of the platform and the hill as well. They also fixed the drain issue- now the ramp for the bus wasn’t crooked and could go down smoothly. Everyone who was there found no major faults with the platform anymore. This experience has shown me that Dublin City Council and others who impact on our daily lives can listen to disabled people and work with us and when they do, great things can happen. Hopefully, local authorities and others will continue to listen to disabled people and allow further growth and work with us in future projects that impact on our daily lives. I look forward to advising on such works again.

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The Week Ahead with ILMI Online Communities


Photo shows timetable for ILMI's Community Zooms for the week of July 27th to 31st:
  • Monday at 2pm: Longford Community Platform
  • Tuesday at 3pm: PAS Online Community Platform
  • Tuesday at 7.30pm: Full Spectrum LGBTI+ Group Space
  • Thursday at 7pm: ILMI Women's Group

Photo shows ILMI Women's Group Poster with Rosie the Riveter in a wheelchair and slogan "The Future is Female"

ILMI's new Women's Group is a confidential and safe social space for those who identify as disabled women to come together and discuss the issues they face. Join us as we try to uncover what a disabled women's rights movement should tackle. This is a peer-led community with our next meeting focusing, but not limited to, relationships. If you would like more information or wish to register your interest in taking part then please contact Shelly Gaynor at
Web Spinning with ILMI

Photo shows poster for ILMI Web Spinning Creative Writing Community

We all have a story to tell. And we each have a unique way of telling it. Many people are exploring their creative side during these strange days. Having a creative outlet can be an important tool for mental health and making human connections.
Our new Web Spinning online community is a unique opportunity to explore how we can find our own voices and create our own stories. It will start on the 7th of August, and run once per fortnight for ten sessions.
There are 12 places available on this new online community, which is open to people with any and every level of experience with words. It has been created especially for disabled adults in the Leitrim area, however there may be opportunities for individuals who reside outside of Leitrim and still wish to take part . 
The community will be using two online platforms during this course: Zoom and Google Drive. But you don’t need an internet connection to take part – you can join these virtual workshops by phone. If you have access to the internet, but are unfamiliar with Zoom or Google Drive, you can get one-to-one training in advance of the workshops.`
After the 10 workshops, in the Autumn, we will collect our stories to publish on a digital platform. Don’t panic! Nothing you create will be shared if you don’t want it to be. The aim here is to create a lasting record of the work we do together. Something we can look back on with pride!
Interested in taking part? Then please contact the community facilitator isolde at to reserve your place.
Image depicts a wheelchair symbol, an Infinity sign and a raised fist all sharing a rainbow flag background.

ILMI are proud to be supporting Full Spectrum which has their next Zoom Meeting on Tuesday 28th July from 7.30-8.30pm.

Full Spectrum is a new national network for disabled people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, Intersex, Asexual, Non-Binary, or simply non-heterosexual in orientation / gender identity.

Over two weeks ago we launched a regular virtual community drop-in space by and for disabled LGBTI+ people. This is a safe and welcoming peer-support space where we can come together to get to know each other, share experiences, support one another and build a community identity.

If you identify as disabled, and identify as LGBTI+ (or any other letter of the alphabet!), then you are welcome to join our space of equals. There are currently three people acting as a steering group; Maureen, Niall and Isolde. At least one of us will be present at each session to facilitate discussions and deal with the inevitable technical hitches.

ILMI offers technology training for anyone unfamiliar with using the Zoom platform.

For further information, and to register your interest in taking part: email* or call / text 085-2277033

* For screen-reader users, the email address is d l g b t q peer 20 20 at g mail dot com – all lower case.

Image shows slogan "Loudly Support One Another" on a pink swirl

 ILMI Youth Collective

Photo shows poster for ILMI Youth Collective with "Be You" gif.

If you are aged 18 - 30 and interested in equality, policy, disability rights, relationships and a whole load of other issues then come along to our new Youth Collective starting on Wednesday 29th July at 7pm via Zoom. This is how we can make things happen, how we can discuss what’s important to us and share views – by coming together as a collective – nobody can speak for us but us.
For more information on the first meeting contact James Cawley at or James Casey

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Use Your Voice for the Housing Crisis! ILMI joins Housing Sub-Group.

Image shows a graffiti-style broken house with the slogan "Housing is a Human Right"

On Thursday 9th July, Independent Living Movement Ireland attended the first Housing Subgroup of the Housing Agency. The Housing Agency is responsible for driving and overseeing the implementation of the actions in terms of progressing housing provision for disabled people and this is done primarily through its various subgroups.
ILMI is delighted to be sitting on the Housing Subgroup to bring our expertise of lived experience from our members, our analysis of the implementation of housing policy and our unique role as a DPO as defined under the UNCRPD.
The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government’s role involves the provision of a national framework of policy, legislation and funding to underpin the role of local authorities in addressing housing at local level which includes every local authority having a strategic plan to house disabled people. Statutory responsibility in relation to the provision of housing for disabled people and related services rests with individual local authorities.
ILMI as a national Disabled Persons Organisation (DPO) has consulted with its members to ascertain the issues in housing across the country. We have also carried out an extensive piece of research on the implementation at a local level of the National Plan for Housing People with Disabilities by contacting all local authorities and analysing all strategic plans of all local authorities to house disabled people which formed a submission to the joint Oireachtas Committee last year.
ILMI will hold a specific space on housing ahead of the next meeting. If you would like to have your say email our Policy Officer at


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ILMI Speaks to Ministers and Departments about Obligations to Consult with DPOs
At the last AGM, ILMI agreed on the decision to inform all new Ministers and Department heads on the need to prioritise consultation with Disabled Persons' Organisations (DPOs). ILMI wanted to use this opportunity with a new Government and new departments to say that, as per the UNCRPD, statutory bodies need to speak directly to DPOs as opposed to Disability Service Providers. This message will also be communicated to all Public Sector Organisations.
ILMI also communicated this to all large disability service providers and their representative organisations to inform them of the key role of DPOs and that service providers do not have a mandate to speak on behalf of disabled people.
The following is an excerpt from the letter that was sent to each incoming Minister two weeks ago:

"ILMI wants to clarify that, as per the UNCRPD, statutory bodies need to speak directly to DPOs as opposed to Disability Service Providers. Service providers and their representative organisations should no longer allow themselves to be perceived as sole authorities on how, where, and with what degree of supports disabled people are allocated in order to live inclusive lives, in an accommodating environment and supporting society. 
 While work and services provided by these organisations continues to be important and is valued by disabled people, these bodies must discontinue allowing themselves to be perceived as exclusive authorities on matters on which disabled people should be consulted instead of through representative DPOs. The philosophy of Independent Living espouses that disabled people are the experts on their own lives, and as such, have intimate knowledge and vast expertise on their own needs. Therefore, they must be actively involved and engaged in all decision-making processes at all levels of those organisations purporting to represent the interests and the views of disabled people.
 ILMI has communicated our views on this matter to the relevant disability service organisat
ions which to date have occupied that consultative space which must be released or expanded to include DPOs [...] 
As charged in Section 42 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014), all public bodies must (as part of their “public Sector Duty”) devise means and arrangements to consult directly with disabled people in the first instance and not regard service providers and disability NGOs as the “go-to” authorities on every aspect of matters impacting on the inclusion and independence of disabled people.
“Nothing About Us Without Us” must be respected as guiding all consultative processes.

Yours sincerely,
Des Kenny,
Chairperson, Independent Living Movement Ireland

For the full text, see our website here.

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