About Us


Our Mission

Independent living is a philosophy, a way of looking at disability and society, and a worldwide movement of people with disabilities (PWDs) working for self-determination, self-respect and equal opportunities.

Cork Centre for Independent Living (Cork CIL) was opened in 1996 by PWDs. Cork CIL is committed to working towards the removal of barriers to inclusion and working for rights-based equality legislation for PWDs.

Our main aim is to empower and enable PWDs to achieve Independent Living, and choice and control over their lives, and to achieve full and active participation as equal citizens in society.

Map of Centres of Independent Living in Ireland

There are currently 27 Centres for Independent Living operating throughout Ireland.

Each Centre functions on an individual basis, although all adhere to the same principles of Independent Living. CILs provide a range of services to PWDs. In Ireland they are funded primarily through the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP).

The Board and staff of Cork CIL work vigorously to ensure that life for people living with physical disabilities is made as straightforward as possible. We do this by working with various Local and National Government Departments to ensure that the prospect of everyday living can be made a reality.

We are committed to fighting for these rights as we have a passion for life to be an independent journey—not an independent struggle.

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The Voluntary Board of Management is made up of people with personal and professional experience and an interest in disability issues and services. The Cork CIL Board members have experience in law, finance, ICT, health, sport, social and disability services.

Cork CIL is a grassroots organisation. Over 30% of the Cork CIL Board of Management have direct experience of disability. In addition to the voluntary Board and over 100 staff, we have a membership of 59 people and provide services to over 150 people with primary physical disabilities.

Non-Executive Board of Management

  • Pádraig Hannafin (Chairperson)
  • Donal O’Sullivan (Vice Chairman)
  • Johnny Cronin
  • Cian Moriarty
  • Ben Coughlan
  • James Conroy


  • Pat Beirne (General Manager and Company Secretary)
  • Nicola Meacle (DEASP CE Supervisor)

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Cork CIL works in partnership with its service users, the HSE, and the DEASP to provide a range of support and services to people with disabilities living in the South Lee and Blackpool areas of Cork city.

The services offered by Cork CIL aim to respond to individual needs and preferences. Everyone who uses Cork CIL services is unique, however, many people who use our services have very complex and high support needs.

Cork CIL Services include:

  • provision of an assisted living Personal Assistant (PA) service to Adults and Children on behalf of the HSE;
  • DEASP Community Employment (CE) Programme sponsor;
  • provision of information on the rights and entitlements of people with a disability;
  • supporting employment opportunities for PWDs;
  • promoting advocacy and self-advocacy;
  • supporting Disability Research and Training.

Cork CIL is contracted by the HSE to provide a level of PA services to adults and some children with a disability. This statutory funding is limited, but we are committed to working to ensure best value and offering services to as many people as possible in line with our Service Level Agreements.

HSE Assisted Living Services

To be eligible for PA Services, you must be:

  • under 65 years of age;
  • eligible for inclusion in the National Physical Sensory Disability Database (NPSDD);
  • living in the South Lee or Blackpool areas of Cork City.

Assessment and Application Process

Applications should in the first instance be made through your local Public Health Nurse (PHN). She or he will arrange to meet with you or your child, and following an assessment of need, can submit a written application to the HSE Disability Services. These applications are reviewed by a team made up of representatives of HSE Disability Services, the PHN Service, and Cork CIL.

Based on the information received, applications are prioritised and placed on the HSE Assisted Living Service waiting list. As resources become available, services are offered to those people on the waiting list.

Priority for Assisted Living PA supports is given to people who have:

  • complex support needs;
  • no access to any other services or supports;
  • a life-limiting condition.

The Assisted Living PA is part of a continuum of HSE-funded community-based supports. Most supports involving daily living such as washing and dressing are provided by the HSE Home Help Service. The HSE Assisted Living Supports are an addition to these supports and facilitate people to get out of their home, conduct essential personal business, and perhaps socialise.

Regrettably, the HSE/CIL Assisted Living Supports are not available to support people in their workplace, for the sole purpose of accompanying people to appointments, or to provide transport. Cork CIL does, however, have a Travel Club.

We are also unable to consider applications for domestic supports, child-minding or childcare, or to support children in Pre-schools or Schools.

We may not be able to offer all the hours that a service user would like, but services will be reviewed regularly, and requests for additional services received from people already using the service will be considered in the same way as new referrals. We do this to ensure openness, transparency, and equity as we endeavour to offer services to as many people as possible.

Cork CIL is committed to advocating for additional supports and resources for PWDs.

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Community Employment Programme

Cork CIL is a sponsor of the DEASP CE Programme. Participants work in a range of settings, including PA and administration. The DEASP CE Programmes offer a valuable opportunity for participants to gain further training and workplace skills. See our CE Scheme section for more information.

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