ILMI eBulletin 16th February 2024



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ILMI eBulletin
ILMI eBulletin 16th February 2024   

In this issue:
ILMI Employment Consultation spaces
ILMI Valentine’s Staff   “Think-in”
University of Atypical for Arts and Disability
‘Never Know Your Place’

Update on ILMI Employment Consultation spaces: Developing a DPO analysis of how systems need to change!
IMAGE: a screenshot from one of the meetings with text that reads “This week more: disabled activists came online to collectively participate in workshops towards developing an ILMI employment campaign.”

On Tuesday (13th) and Thursday (15th) disabled activists came online to collectively participate in workshops towards developing an ILMI employment campaign.

On Tuesday we explored experiences of accessing mainstream employment support programmes. Interestingly, the majority of activists had more engagement with disability specific employment supports. There was a large discussion on how any system that is designed to support disabled people needs to be led by and staffed by disabled people. There was also a call for greater transparency on how effective these employment support programmes are run and what the actual impact is in terms of meaningful employment of disabled people when they access these services.

On Thursday night, activists explored the provision of information relating to reasonable accommodation and supports. Most disabled people found information about employment supports themselves or through peer networks and noted the need for a centralised information system for disabled employees and employers. There was a need to reform the reasonable accommodation fund and put the resources into the control of disabled people to be able to identify and resource the supports they need to actively participate in employment.

The remaining ILMI employment discussion spaces over February and March are as follows:

Role of entrepreneurs / business start-up supports for disabled people Tuesday 29th February 12 noon to 2pm

Employment and cost of disability Tuesday March 5th 12 noon to 2pm

Mainstream mentoring programmes (including within large corporations CSR) Thursday 7th March 12 noon to 2pm

All these discussions will take place on Zoom and be facilitated to develop collective analysis of how systems should be designed, built and resourced to realise disabled people’s potential in employment. These discussions will be guided by ILMI’s core values of human rights, collective empowerment and social justice.

What will this process deliver?

ILMI will have its own vision for systems change to build expectations for disabled people in accessing employment.

ILMI will have an analysis on what needs to change on different levels.

ILMI can share this analysis with disabled people to inform local and national policy discussions (especially in relation to a new CRPD implantation strategy)

ILMI can focus on key thematic policy issues under our Social Justice value in our new strategic plan to take strategic actions.

To register for specific thematic discussions, email with the discussion you wish to attend.

ILMI Valentine’s Staff   “Think-in”
IMAGE: photo shows the ILMI Team holding a hearts banner. (Back row left to right: Peter Kearns, James Casey, Nina Byrne, Damien Walshe, Elaine Walsh. Front row left to right: Paula Soraghan, Shelly Gaynor, Fiona Weldon, Nicola Meacle and Claire Kenny – we missed you Colm Whooley!)

On Valentine’s Day, the Independent Living Movement Ireland (ILMI) gathered for a Staff “Think-in” infused with the organisation’s core values of human rights, collective empowerment, and social justice. Assembled with purpose, our ILMI team embarked on a journey of strategic planning and collaboration, outlining initiatives for the next three months with unwavering enthusiasm. The atmosphere brimmed with anticipation as we recognised the transformative potential of our efforts. Our work holds the promise of dismantling barriers and effecting tangible change in the lives of disabled people across Ireland.

At the heart of the Think-in lay the essence of collective empowerment. Each team member brought forth their unique insights, skills, and passion, understanding the pivotal role they played in realising our organisation’s mission. Together, we explored avenues to support and amplify each other’s projects and work plans, fostering a culture of solidarity and mutual assistance. As disabled people, we embrace our unique intersectionality and welcome others to join our movement. We understand the multifaceted challenges facing disabled people nationwide and are committed to creating an inclusive platform where all voices are heard. Whether it’s through discussions, consultations, programmes, or direct engagement, we invite you to be part of our journey. Looking ahead, ILMI embraces the challenges and opportunities that lie on the horizon. Armed with a strategic plan grounded in human rights, collective empowerment, and social justice, the organisation is poised to lead the charge towards a more inclusive and equitable future.

University of Atypical for Arts and Disability
PHOTO: Emma Fisher (Atypical Community Engagement Manager), Peter Kearns (ILMI) & Damien Coyle (Former Atypical CEO and visual-artist)

Recognising that not only physical and economic barriers ‘disable’ us, ILMI is very keen to explore solutions and creative approaches that can effectively dismantle disabling cultural barriers and medical model type non-disabled arts mis-representations with the lived experiences of disabled people. ILMI’s Peter Kearns had meetings and facilitated a disability arts social model session with Belfast based Atypical University (NI Arts & Disability Forum) this week at their new ‘Ledger’ workshop space, named after their former CEO and ILMI supporter Chris Ledger, who Peter had worked  with for over 20-years in Disability Arts in Ireland and the UK. Peter talked about disabled people being much more the arts centre ‘new’ audiences and asked attending art venue managers & staff to deal directly with disabled arts & culture makers as ‘new’ producers and directors. ILMI and NI Atypical University’s new CEO Edel Murphy will be meeting-up to explore how both DPOs can work both sides of the border to develop supports for a Republic of Ireland cross-impairment Disability Arts ‘DPO’ and replicate some of the training and arts supports rolled-out across the six-counties with disabled artists and mainstream arts venues. Peter used his Belfast visit to also continue the ongoing conversation between ILMI and Atypical on getting the award winning play NO MAGIC PILL to possibly do a UK funded tour in some theatres from Belfast to Derry.

‘Never Know Your Place’
The upcoming book, ‘Never Know Your Place’ by Martin Naughton, offers a gripping narrative of activism’s ignition—from ordinary individual to passionate advocate. It focuses solely on the beginnings of his journey, tracing his evolution into a leading figure in Ireland’s disability rights movement. This remarkable account inspires not only disabled activists but all advocates of social change.

ILMI is thrilled to announce: there is less than a month away from the release! Published by O’Brien Press on March 11th, the book will be available in both print and e-book formats. For more details, visit  Catch a glimpse of the book in a sneak peek video by co-author Joanna Marsden.




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