ILMI eBulletin 10th of November 2023

ILMI Logo Independent Living Movement Ireland. Freedom Rights Empowerment
ILMI at Dublin Castle
IMAGE: photo shows Peter Kearns and Ciaran Delaney

ILMI attended Dublin Castle in-person, and on-line. the Government’s first public open consultation on their surprise September Green Paper setting-out their own ideas of what Disability Payments ‘reform’ could look like in the near future. After a number of presentations by non-disabled Government invited guest speakers on ‘Cost-of-Disability’ and other international examples of disability-payments, ILMI’s DPO Development Officer Peter Kearns immediately took the first opportunity to speak from the floor of around 80-participants from across the State. Peter initially registered his disappointment that there were no DPOs or disabled activists on the stage and supported comments by activists that access to participation by disabled audience members was being ‘disabled’ by having to use an app to ask questions of the non-disabled ‘expert’ panel – Dublin Castle floor-mics were quickly brought into the Hall. The Department of Social Protection officials were confronted by Peter’s query of had they used the 2018 Irish State ratification of the social model led UN Convention for disabled people to proof their Green Paper disability-payment detailed proposals.

Other activists in the large Hibernian Conference Hall followed with further suggestions on measuring the usefulness of the Green Paper by working from UNCRPD Articles on employment, education and participation. With some emotional but strong activist lived experience stories, disabled people attending, in-person or on-line, demanded to know why did the Department and Minister Humphries TD did not consult with DPOs before surprising the disability community with the Green Paper. Most disabled people attending identified that the Green Paper is primarily informed by narrative of three possible new payment ‘Tier’. Many there pointed-out that the Green Paper is evidently underpinned by the Bio-Psycho-Social ‘model’ based on a person’s functional-ability and that this ‘problem-of-the-person’ is causing concerns for disabled people and their national and local DPOs. ILMI’s Peter and other activist academics, in the Hall and on-line, quickly pointed out the Dept.’s Chief Medical Officer’s (CMO) championing of this ‘model’ at the recent Stakeholders Government ‘briefing’ is very much medical model. ILMI’s DPO Officer and other activists pointed-out that the medical model ‘Bio-Psycho-Social’ approach starts from the belief that the disabled person’s impairment label led measurement of functionality to work, or not, is all about the person being the problem needing an impairment life course cure, or stabilising or fixing, to enter the world of work. The identified need to measure a disabled persons’ work related functionality by a clinical non-disabled professional on a regular payment related interview system ultimately implies impairment ‘fixing’ and taking up of a prescribed work role is the only way that then maybe a disabled individual can escape the poverty lived experience of a high percentage of disabled people compared to the general Irish non-disabled population.

ILMI will be submitting their findings from our well attended on-line discussions with activists on the social model proofing of the ‘payment’ led Green Paper before the current Department closure date for comments and ideas by the 15th December. With the very strong feedback from disabled people at Dublin Castle on Thursday 9th November regarding the disappointing medical model narrative of the Green Paper and lack of sufficient consultation evidence of a State required obligation to always effectively work from the UNCRPD when writing government social policy, Dept. officials did end the long day by saying that the closing date maybe extended. And Minister Humphries TD has suggested that there maybe further consultations beyond Cork City on 14th & Athlone Town on 23rd November. ILMI would still very much welcome members and activist submitted responses to the Green Paper – email your comments to

Green Paper
In response to the Green Paper on welfare reform, ILMI promptly established authentic consultative spaces for members, creating a platform for concerns regarding potential reforms with significant implications for their lives. From these national cross-impairment dialogues emerged a demand for a concise document capturing key issues raised by disabled people. This summary is available now here ,not only reflects the collective sentiments of many disabled people but also underscores the value of collective activism. It serves as a testament to the power of unified voices in advocating for a more inclusive and equitable welfare system. For anyone planning to attend the in-person meetings hosted by the Department of Social Protection in Cork on November 14th and Athlone on November 23rd, this resource becomes an essential tool for informed and collective engagement in public consultations. ILMI encourages attendees to draw on the strength of collective activism, using the shared concerns outlined in the summary to reinforce their individual perspectives and contribute meaningfully to the ongoing dialogue shaping policies that directly impact the lives of disabled people. For those unable to attend, the Department is accepting submissions until December 15th, and ILMI is committed to making a comprehensive submission based on the insights garnered from the consultative spaces they facilitated.

The Department of Social Protection is holding a series of in-person meetings in Cork 14th Nov and Athlone 23rd Nov. click here to register 
ILMI Summary
PDF version
and MS Word version

Invitation to the launch of “Not in the Driving Seat” November 22nd 11am
IMAGE : photo close up of a passenger set in a car and text that reads “Invitation to the launch of “Not in the Driving Seat” November 22nd 11am” and the ILMI logo

ILMI is proud to announce that on November 22nd we will launch our research paper “Not” in the Driving Seat: Reliance on family for supports and the impact it has on disabled people”.
The launch will take place on Zoom. ILMI commissioned the research to explore the impact that forced reliance on support from family members has / has had on the quality of life, and self-determination of disabled people.
Nationally and internationally there exists an abundance of research which explores the impact on family members who provide supports for disabled family members. However, there is a significant absence of research documenting the impact that reliance on family members has on disabled people.
Carried out by Marie Lynch, a mix of focus groups and individual discussions with disabled people informs this ground breaking research.
To sign up for the launch, email 

DPO Network meets Minister Rabbitte to present Position paper on the role of DPOs in Ireland
Image shows a group of six people standing outside Leinster House. They are smiling and holding a publication. They are members of the DPO Network and Minister Anne Rabbitte

On Thursday 9th November, members of the DPO network met with Minister Anne Rabbitte to present out position paper “The Role of DPOs in Ireland”. The paper sets out the DPO Network’s understanding of the role of Disabled Persons’ Organisations (DPOs) in advancing the effective and meaningful participation and inclusion of disabled people in Ireland.

Among other things, the paper offers a definition of DPOs, identifies types of DPOs and their functions, highlights essential characteristics in line with international best practice and explores their importance in promoting effective and meaningful participation.

It was a very productive meeting and the Minister has agreed to launch this paper later in the year. Once it is formally launched it will be made available on the websites of the members of the DPO network.

The DPO Network is an alliance of five national disabled persons’ organisations in Ireland working together to support the full implementation of the UN CRPD in Ireland.

The five DPO member organisations are:

As I Am – Ireland’s National Autism Advocacy Organisation

Disabled Women Ireland (DWI)

Independent Living Movement Ireland (ILMI)

Irish Deaf Society (IDS)

National Platform of Self Advocates

The DPO Network is led and informed by the active collective participation of disabled people based on their lived experience. It provides a unique space for a genuinely cross-impairment analysis of the issues faced by disabled people.

The DPO Network is committed to the human rights and social model of disability which says that the exclusion, inequality, and discrimination that disabled people experience is not the consequence of impairment but a result of the economic, cultural, social, and political barriers which are created and persist in society.

Climate Justice
IMAGE: photo shows Paula Soraghan standing next to Minister Joe O'Brien

On Wednesday, 8 November, ILMI’s Paula Soraghan participated in the Climate Justice event at the F2 centre in Dublin. This enlightening event featured speakers including Niall Crowley, Anastasia Crickley, and Paul Rogers. Minister Joe O’Brien delivered a keynote speech, emphasising the critical role of Climate Justice and the Community Development Sector in addressing the concerns of marginalised communities. It’s important to recognise that Climate Justice significantly affects disabled people, as the intersection of disability and poverty often means that our specific needs are overlooked in the face of the Climate Crisis. Therefore, Climate Justice is not just an environmental matter; it’s an equality issue. To effectively address this ongoing challenge, continued consultation with genuine Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs), such as ILMI, and adequate resourcing for DPOs are essential steps in breaking down these barriers.

ILMI in Mayo
IMAGE photo shows Peter standing against a wall with paintings and DPO workshop members

During some recent visits to Mayo, ILMI conveyed a message of genuine change and empowerment for disabled people, inspiring them to become community change makers. This empowering narrative is epitomised by ILMI’s DPO Coordinator, Peter Kearns, a man of great character, boundless energy, and verve. Peter’s dedication goes beyond the call of duty, evident in his contributions to Disability Equality Training (DET) workshops and DPO sessions during Mayo Social Inclusion Week. ILMI believes in fostering community leaders who find the courage to step up and address issues affecting disabled people locally. The power of collective activism takes centre stage, emphasising that a real Disabled Persons Organisation (DPO) is not just a character but a force for substantive change. As Peter engages with Mayo North East Partnership SICAP and local DPO workshops, his commitment to creating tangible impact shines through, reinforcing the understanding that DPOs are essential agents in driving social inclusion and community activation. The significance of Disability Equality Training over traditional disability awareness workshops becomes apparent, as it equips individuals with practical tools for change. Peter’s collaboration with SICAP staff underscores the shared mission of addressing deprivation through innovative, locally-led approaches, illustrating the potency of partnerships in creating lasting societal change.

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