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ILMI eBulletin 8th February 2019

Welcome to the 32nd ILMI eBulletin.
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Updates from ILMI

Photo of UNCRPD Monitoring Committee group

IHREC announce UNCRPD Monitoring Committee
IHREC announced the membership of its national committee to monitor Ireland’s implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
Eleven people have been appointed to the committee and Independent Living Movement is proud that four of our members were appointed after an open competitive process.
The UNCRPD was ratified in 2018 more than a decade after being first signed by Ireland.  IHREC has a statutory function to monitor how the Convention is being monitored and the Committee will play a vital role in this monitoring of Ireland’s implementation of the UN Convention.
Ireland is expected to produce its first report to the United Nations in Geneva on its implementation of the Convention in 2020. Article 33 of the Convention requires an independent mechanism to monitor the implementation, a role which will be fulfilled by the Commission.
We asked the ILMI members of the Disability Advisory Committee to share what their nomination means to them and what they hope the committee can achieve:
Eliona Gjecaj:
“As a young disability activist, I am delighted to be part of Disability Advisory Committee. Representing the voice of students with disabilities and the intersection of identities, I hope to use my knowledge of UNCRPD to push for disability equality in our society.”   
Vivian Rath:
"I am delighted to be able to give my time and bring my experience to the important work of this committee. Having campaigned to have the UNCRPD ratified, I am pleased to be involved in monitoring that the Government do its job, and fully implement it.”
Michelle Gaynor:
“I’m looking forward to working on advisory Committee and trying to improve the quality of lives disabled people hopefully making the lives of the next generation that bit easier” 
Rosaleen McDonagh:
“We as people with disabilities are not homogenous. Gender and ethnicity means highlighting ableism, sexism and racism. My focus will be on highlighting issues that affect Deaf and Disabled Travellers and Roma.”




Photo Selina Bonnie graduating

IHREC / IPA Professional Diploma in Human Rights and Equality
In December 2018, ILMI Board member Selina Bonnie graduated with a Professional Diploma in Human Rights and Equality. We caught up recently with Selina to find out about the course, and how she ended up undertaking it….
“I already hold an MA in Disability Studies from the University of Leeds and have been working as the South Dublin County Council Disability Liaison, Access and Equality Officer since 2006 but when I heard about the Professional Diploma in Human Rights and Equality I knew that it would give me a more in-depth understanding of Human Rights and Equality legislation which would help me to carry out my work in a more effective way”.
This one-year, part-time programme has been developed by the Institute of Public Administration (IPA) in conjunction with the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC). It is accredited by UCD.
The Course is designed to foster a better understanding of the place that human rights and equality occupy in public management and administration. The responsibility to devise policy, deliver services, and follow processes that protect human rights and further equality has become explicit since the introduction, through legislation, of the new public sector duty in this area. It is aimed at public servants, but is of benefit to the NGO sector as well. In fact Selina’s fellow course members included staff from National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI), and Inclusion Ireland.
The course is delivered through blended learning comprised of four intensive seminar days in the IPA, four written assignments (one for each of the Modules listed below), and home study.
Module One: Philosophical and Political Perspectives on Human Rights and Equality which introduces students to the historical and conceptual foundations of contemporary human rights and equality law. Students learn about the major historical developments in this area, the key theories that have been advanced in support of the universality of human rights and equality, and the current debates about the application of these theories in national and international contexts.
Module Two: The International and European Frameworks for Human Rights which introduces the United Nations human rights system, the Council of Europe human rights mechanisms (including the European Convention on Human Rights), and the European Union human rights and equality framework. The module is essentially concerned with the international legal framework within which Irish laws and policies sit.
Module Three: Human Rights and Equality in the Irish Legal System aims to introduce students to the protections around human rights and equality provided by the Constitution of Ireland (Bunreacht na hÉireann), and to the very considerable body of legislation and case law that has developed in Ireland, particularly in recent years.
Module Four: Human Rights and Equality in Public Management module gives students the knowledge, resources, and skills they need to apply what they have learned about human rights and equality to their working lives and to their organisations.
“I found the course fascinating. I have always been interested in the law and I love Latin so although the modules were very intensive with a lot of studying, remembering dates and acronyms and four written assignments, I feel it was definitely time well spent. As a disabled person who uses a wheelchair I found the IPA staff very welcoming, helpful and eager to try to meet access needs, but unfortunately the IPA building was not properly accessible. The IPA Library is not on ground level and there is no lift access to it, and the one ‘accessible toilet’, is not very accessible!”
Each year IHREC offer a number of bursaries to staff from the public and NGO sectors to enable them to undertake the course. This is very helpful because it costs just under €2,000. Although Selina’s bursary application was not successful her employer saw the potential benefit of the course to her role and funded her to undertake it.
Information on the Professional Diploma in Human Rights and Equality.

No Magic Pill by Christian O’Reilly

In 1995, I was a struggling writer who needed a job. I replied to an ad in the DCU newsletter for an organisation I’d never heard of – the Center for Independent Living – for a job I couldn’t get my head around: a researcher/personal assistant/communications officer. I was invited to an interview in the Royal Dublin Hotel. A man with a beard and a fishing hat was pushed through the doors in a wheelchair with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. ‘Shake the thumb,’ he said. It was my first introduction to Martin Naughton. I can’t remember a thing about the interview other than he told me I was starting next week. Doing what? I wondered. He smiled and told me not to worry. The following week I was thrown head first into a conference in Jury’s Hotel entitled ‘Disability – Investment not Burden’. I had no idea wheelchair-users could be so angry and so militant. I had no idea they wanted to change the world. Weren’t they supposed to sit quietly and watch TV all day? Not these guys.

I spent two years working for Martin. He told me CIL were the ‘IRA of disability’ and that our job was to ‘plant bombs’ and agitate for change. I was a lobbyist who knew nothing about lobbying, but Martin only saw what I could do, not what I couldn’t, and because he believed in me, I started to believe in myself. He had a presence, an aura, a gravitas. He could command a room like a general and rule with an iron fist. And he could laugh and slag and have fun. When you walked into a room with him, you felt powerful because you knew you were with the smartest, most politically astute guy in that room and that he was already ten steps ahead of everybody else.

Click here for full blog piece

Photo campaigning for Human Rights and Equality graphic

Clare Disability Activists Undertake New Education Initiative
Next week sees a group of sixteen disability activists in Clare commence their Certificate in Campaigning for Human Rights and Equality. The course is now in its second year running in Clare with 15 people graduating from the Clare Leader Forum in 2018.
Developed in conjunction with LIT this year's course has been newly designed to capitalise on participant's experiences and how they can be supported through campaigns that focus on real equality for disabled people. Through participating in this new course it is envisaged that graduates will work with the CLF and ILMI toward having a more fulfilled life as active citizens, aware of their rights as equals within our society.
The CLF are confident that the development of this new partnership with LIT will continue to offer further education opportunities to Clare residents that may not always have the opportunities to access them. This exciting venture is facilitated through the support of Clare County Council. We look forward to learning from this year's graduates and working with them well into the future.

Photo SLIS graphic

Sign Language Interpreting Service By Sophie Flynn
The Sign Language Interpreting Service (SLIS) was set up to give Deaf people access to public and social services. SLIS develops and advocates for quality interpretation services for Deaf people and service providers. SLIS is supported and funded by The Citizens Information Board (CIB) to operate:

•             24/7 emergency service providing an interpreter for medical and legal emergencies only (Emergency Mobile: 087 672 5179).

•             A free referral service to put Deaf people and service providers in contact with an interpreter.

•             The HSE SLIS GP Primary Care Service providing GP and primary care appointments for Deaf people with medical cards or a GP visit card. (Text: 087 980 6996, Email:

•             A social fund that pays for interpreters for funerals and hardship cases.

•             The Irish Remote Interpreting Service (IRIS)

•             Supports to enhance quality standards for professional sign language interpreters and their customers.

Two of the main services that SLIS provides are IRIS and the interpreter referral service.
The Irish Remote Interpreting Service (IRIS) allows you to video call a Sign Language Interpreter when you need to talk to public services or commercial organisations. A free 22-minute appointment can easily be booked online.

You can also use the SLIS referral service for free to find an interpreter when you need a face-to-face interpreter for meetings and appointments.  SLIS will find an appropriate interpreter, which you or the service provider can book directly with the interpreter.

The National Disability Inclusion Strategy (2017-2021) is working to promote greater inclusion of people with disabilities in Irish society. SLIS has been tasked with expanding and improving their services. Last year, IRIS expanded its opening hours and SLIS is now working on a strategic framework  to increase the number of working Sign Language interpreters. A registration scheme and training opportunities are also being developed in 2019. We can look forward to these services improving and developing over the coming years.
Contact information:
•             Website
•             Telephone: (+353) 0761 07 8440
•             Mobile: 087 980 6996
•             Fax: 01 838 0243
•             Email:

                IRIS opening hours:
•             Monday-Friday 8am-8pm
•             Saturday 10am-4pm
•             Sunday 12pm-1.30pm


photo of Rosaleen McDonagh ILMI Member

“Disabled people have been made to believe they are the problem. 

Article 41.2 has marginalised disabled feminists. Time for change” “As disabled people we share key feminist goals, including control over our bodies “
Rosaleen McDonagh's  article in the IrishTimes


Photo built environment graphic

ILMI Planning Working Group Update
ILMI held its first planning working group meeting on Thursday 7th February. The aim of the group was to start the process to build a collective ILMI approach to influencing the planning process. The group discussed local development plans and specific local authority plans such as road improvements, kerbing, transport etc.
ILMI members spoke of how planning decisions are often reached without any meaningful consultation with disabled people resulting in a built environment is not accessible. If consultation does take place, it often is reactive rather than disabled people being involved from concept stage of planning. There was also a sense that collectively we needed to share best practice and information to empower ILMI members across the country.
From the discussion, a series of actions were developed. The planning group will develop a short document on the planning process and the key policy framework to inform planning. We will look to develop a campaign on key planning issues with local authorities as well as influencing key national policies that impact on planning, specifically in relation to shared spaces.
For more information, email policy worker James Cawley on


Parliamentary Monitoring
Dáil debates Thursday, 24 January 2019 Disability Services Funding
Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD  (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
As there are three Members who wish to contribute and only four minutes in which to speak, I know the Acting Chairman will exercise a degree of leniency. I welcome the fact that the Minister of State at the Department of Health, Deputy Catherine Byrne, is here, but I really believe that the responsible Minister should be here in the first instance.
The Irish Deaf Society is the representative body of the deaf community in Ireland and provides services to 50,000 people across the deaf community annually. Every year it faces a struggle to secure core funding to support these necessary services.
No State body will take responsibility for the provision of education and support services to vulnerable deaf people, who struggle to engage successfully with State and other services through the first language, English, which is a deaf person's second language. For them, the first language is Irish Sign Language. Click here for full debate


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