ILMI eBulletin 12th April 2024


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ILMI eBulletin
ILMI eBulletin 12th April 2024   

In this issue:
Committee on Disability Matters
Feminist Climate Justice

ILMI at the Committee on Disability Matters
IMAGE: screenshot of crowd in gallery and ILMI’s James Casey

“My name is James Casey and I am from ILMI – a Disabled Person’s Organisation. Not only as per the criteria outlined in the UNCRPD but also in terms of social justice and historical movements. We were established in 1992 by disabled people for disabled people and we continue this legacy by harnessing the collective lived experience of disabled people in Ireland and facilitating, objective, authentic agency to their perspectives.

Independent living is an aspiration for every person, disabled or non-disabled. It is not perhaps so much living on your own but rather living a life of self – determination whatever form that takes. However it is not a segregated life – whatever guise that is presented in. It is living and thriving and contributing to our communities. Nonetheless, to reach these goals, we must co-create, collaborate and monitor the policies, rights and strategies that enable us to achieve them. This can only be achieved with Disabled people and their organisations.

DPOs are crucial conduits of the collective authentic disabled person’s perspectives. Without authentic DPOs then we cannot move from single issue-based policy targets to more strategic and nuanced policy objectives. DPOs give policy makers structure of consultation but more importantly, they also give policy makers access to authentic, citizen generated data and critically, the opportunity to move from consultation to co-creation of policy. This makes for better policy, which makes for better outcomes of opportunity for those it affects, which leads to a more healthy and inclusive society. DPOs allow for strategic thinking and for accountable representatives to bring agreed actions and targets.

Although individual disabled people can and do bring their own issues via self-advocacy to local or national structures they cannot bring an authentic cross-impairment, collectively mandated, intersectional analysis to develop or inform policies. There are numerous examples of policy making spaces where the State recognises the primacy of collective autonomous spaces for people who experience social exclusion. Disabled people need to be resourced to participate, recognise and celebrate the value of collective empowerment in DPOs. Conversely, self-advocacy and advocacy cannot be managed or facilitated by service provers or their representative groups, This is incompatible due to power dynamics, it is not impartial and it is not in the ethos of the CRPD and indeed is against the basic tenets of our democratic and social contracts.

A structured, objective conduit of agency – such as a DPO like ILMI, enables disabled people to articulate their perspectives and lived experiences of issues in a strategic fashion, without a conflict of interest or a fear of reprisal.

The CRPD is clear on the prominent position of DPOs in advocating for disabled people and this is rather detailed in several articles.

What is less clear is the misrepresentation of whom is speaking for the collective wishes and experiences of disabled people.

In the absence of DPOs, many organisations and individuals have claimed to speak on behalf of disabled people contrary to the aims of the CRPD. This is perturbing, it is undemocratic and puts the social contract under yet more strain. The cooperative strategic input of mandated DPOs have to be recognised as how to realise the CRPD and build the participative democratic inclusion of disabled people in the design and monitoring of policies and practices to realise our rights. Allies are welcome and appreciated but they cannot speak for disabled people nor can they claim the mandate to do so – this puts our democratic and representational processes under question.

ILMI has a demonstrated track record and values driven collective ethos to be best placed, with our fellow DPOs, to facilitate and co-create meaningful polices and strategies. Our projects such as ONSIDE and SFC are unique, transformative, successful and led by disabled professionals – they, we believe, have contributed, like the rest of our efforts, to shift the paradigm of disability in Ireland to a more modern, human rights and equality perspective. As a DPO, ILMI has endeavoured continually to make disabled people part of the greater conversation about diversity and true inclusion in our society and we recognise active ally ship with other marginalised and equality based organisations and groups. We have always worked diligently with the collective good driving our efforts.

But we are under resourced, undervalued and underrepresented. When we consider the disability industry in Ireland is funded to many billions in public money then we see how truly small our financial support is yet how big our impact has been. But we need support – long-term, multi-annual financial supports and otherwise. We have shown to be a catalyst for change and an authentic voice for disabled people, we have added to the discourse of social justice and environmental concerns. We have always tried to bring people together rather than apart and we have always done this with our values at the core of our work.

ILMI recognises, supports and values the intersectionality of disabled people and the multiple forms of discrimination they may face. We share and promote common goals with Social and Climate justice groups, Women’s Rights groups, LGBTIQA+ Rights organisations, Traveller Rights groups, Anti-Racism groups and people of colour groups. We do as it is the right thing to do, not by division or othering – but by active solidarity and collective agency with solution based policies based on the collective voice. This is how can achieve a more inclusive and fairer balanced society – we always will have more in common than we ever will have apart..”

Oireachtas Link to PDF  statement here

IMAGE: Nicola Meacle  at the Patient Public Involvement in Clinical Research Event in UCC

ILMI’s Nicola Meacle (VOICE Community Development Worker) attended a workshop on Developing Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) in the School of Clinical Therapies It took place on Thursday, the 11th April on UCC. It was an opportunity for people to discuss ways to develop a System to ensure patient and public involvement in research in the clinical Therapies. Dr Alice Moult, Research Fellow and Academic Lead for Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement from Keele University gave a Presentation on research on PPI in the UK. This was used as a terms of reference for the discussion and exchange of ideas that followed.

Feminist Climate Justice
IMAGE: Orla Burke, ILMI member who spoke about Climate Justice from a Disabled Persons perspective at the launch of the report on Feminist Climate Justice in UCC

Orla Burke, an ILMI member, attended the launch of the report on Feminist Climate Justice at UCC. Speaking from a disabled person’s perspective, Orla highlighted the critical intersection of disability and climate justice. Attending the event as a representative of ILMI, Orla emphasised the significance of climate justice for disabled people.

ILMI VOICE going from strength to strength

IMAGE : text that reads ““When other people see you as a third-class citizen, the first thing you need is a belief in yourself and the knowledge that you have rights. The next thing you need is a group of friends to fight back with.”
― Judith Heumann

Are you tired of feeling overlooked and powerless as a disabled person in Cork, Tipperary, Wexford, or Waterford? VOICE is here to change that narrative. Created by disabled people for disabled people, VOICE offers more than just a support system; it’s a dynamic community fuelled by empowerment and action. If you’re ready to stop thinking “that’s just the way it is” and start making a real impact, VOICE is your platform.

By joining VOICE, you’ll not only connect with peers who understand our challenges as disabled people but also receive a free Lenovo tablet, along with comprehensive training and coaching. This isn’t just about technology; it’s about giving you the tools and confidence to assert your rights and shape your future. Together, we’ll challenge stereotypes, break down barriers, and build a society where everyone’s voice is heard. Join VOICE today and unleash your power to create change.

“And the best part? It won’t cost you a thing. This program is all about empowering disabled people to unleash their greatness.” NM

– Nicola Meacle (VOICE Program Officer for Cork and Tipperary): | 087 718 9237
– Paula Soraghan (VOICE Program Officer for Wexford and Waterford): | 087 163 0433

Why not explore the wealth of resources available to you on our website: from our strategic plan to our  invaluable SFC resources and our policy documents and submissions. At our core, we’re a cross-impairment disabled person’s organisation dedicated to tackling the topics that matter most. Let’s continue our journey toward inclusivity and empowerment together!  If you want to know more or sign up and get involved in our work please email





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