ILMI eBulletin 22nd of September 2023

In this Issue:
Government publishes Green Paper on Reform of Disability Payments
Sligo and Leitrim DPO came together this week
NCSE Consultation Forum Appointment
Celebrating Success: Sligo Disabled Person’s Organisation’s Spectacular Launch!

Government publishes Green Paper on Reform of Disability Payments: Need to create strong ILMI response.
IMAGE: Graphic red poster with text that reads “ILMI Consultation Green Paper on reform to Disability Payments have your voice heard”

On Wednesday 20th September, ILMI attended a briefing led by Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys TD, s and as she published a Green Paper on reform to Disability Payments.

What is a Green Paper?
This green paper is not an agreed policy. It is a proposal by the Department to create a focussed discussion on how disability payments could be changed in the future. No decision has been made yet, and the Department did say that through consultation it is possible that no changes would be made.

What does this Green Paper propose?
The Minister and Department officials were keen to point out that there needs to be action based on the research from the Cost of Disability report but that the measures proposed alone would not be enough to meet the costs of disability. They pointed out that costs such as transport, medical supports and so on needed to be delivered by other Departments, but that in terms of reducing risk of poverty these proposals would look at changes to payments and measures to try and support more disabled people into employment.

The Green Paper sets out that the main aims are:
1. To encourage a higher level of employment for disabled to enhance their participation in society and reduce the risk of poverty and deprivation.
2. To better protect disabled people who cannot work from poverty and deprivation.

The green paper makes three changes to disability payments as follows:

1) Introduction of a Three-tiered Personal Support Payment:
 2. Introduction of new in-work supports
 3. Addressing inconsistencies in eligibility

ILMI have published a short blog on our website  providing some analysis of the details of the Green Paper.

Concerns raised at the Green Paper launch:
Whilst there is an increase in payment in Tier one and Tier two, neither come close to the cost of disability in the Department’s report.

The “obligation” to engage with INTREO and take up training or work immediately raised concerns as ILMI raised that this sounded not dissimilar to the “Work Capacity Assessments” in the UK which used the language of “welfare reform” to make savings in the welfare budget and push disabled people into work, with huge human costs and suffering.

ILMI also raised concerns about the current capacity of mainstream employment services such as INTREO and the systemic barriers to inclusion of disabled people in the workforce, including the low expectations that systemic exclusion from employment has had on disabled people themselves.

Next steps for ILMI?
It is vital that as a national cross-impairment Disabled Persons Organisation that we create a strong collective submission into this process.

We are going to have a discussion online to discuss the proposals and develop a clear sense of how to respond as a DPO.

These will take place on Wednesday 18th October at 11am and Tuesday 24th October at 7pm. Both will be on Zoom with agenda and information to follow.

To sign up for the discussions, email and please indicate which session (daytime or evening) work best for you.

More about the Green Paper
The Green Paper can be accessed here, which includes details of how the Department will create public consultations.

Sligo and Leitrim DPO came together this week
IMAGE: photo shows a group of 14 people, mixed impairments standing behind and sitting in front of each other in a semi circle with Peter.

On Wednesday, the 20th of September, in Sligo Northside, ILMI continues its support of local DPO development with a shared workshop with the North West Drugs & Alcohol Taskforce alongside members of Sligo DPO. For the past two years, Peter Kearns, ILMI’s DPO Development Officer and member of the Drugs & Alcohol Taskforce has been working with Christina McEleney, Coordinator of the NW Taskforce and HSE Tracey Mitchell, to identify and start exploring the unique lived experiences of disabled people and prescribed legal drugs use to, but not ‘with’, disabled adults. Peter and ILMI have delivered Disability Equality Training (DET) with members of the Taskforce alongside our partners of the Disability Equality Studies Centre at ATU St. Angela’s College Sligo.

Following the DET workshops, the negative role of the medical model and its obsession with cure and rehabilitation with our bodies has been recognised as a narrative for the Taskforce to explore with DPOs in research and consultation for northwest prioritising of support and education in 2024 and onwards.

Sligo and Leitrim DPO came together to explore what the North West Drug and Alcohol Task Force is working on and how disabled people can be involved In research and consultation.

Wednesday morning started with a presentation from Tracey Mitchell of the HSE explaining what the task force is working on, what support services are available, and who to contact. It was an informative presentation with lots of engagement. As a Group of disabled people, we had a question: how accessible are support services to disabled people if they need to avail of them?

Leitrim DPO then acted out two situations. The first one showed how medical professionals talk down to a disabled person, and the second was the complete opposite. It showed the disabled person being involved in the conversation and informed after treatment options.

We look forward to future engagement with the drug and alcohol task Force.

NCSE Consultation Forum Appointment

ILMI’s Policy person, James Casey, was recently appointed to the National Council for Special Education for a period of three years.

The Consultative Forum, appointed under section 22 of the Education of Persons with Special Educational Needs (EPSEN) Act 2004, is a forum that the NCSE engages with on special education matters. The Council appoints up to 17 members following a prescribed consultation process. In addition, three members are appointed by the Minister for Education.

An appointment process was undertaken in spring 2023 for a term of office to December 2026.

James is excited to learn about the work of the NCSE and from the vast expertise of the other members of the forum and staff and to be of help with advice in any way, this is especially relevant to the disability collective as the CRPD is now cross governmental policy and it is vital that DPOs that are at the forefront of shaping and informing his process. James was nominated by the NDA and he has a background in teaching in addition to his work in critical disability studies.

Celebrating Success: Sligo Disabled Person’s Organisation’s Spectacular Launch!

The Sligo Disabled Person’s Organisation (DPO) recently curated an extraordinary event, marking the successful launch of a remarkable initiative. A big shout out to everyone involved in making this event a resounding success, including our own esteemed colleague Peter Kerns our DPO Co Ordinator.

“With great partners, great things happen,” and in collaboration with ILMI and the Sligo Public Participation Network (PPN), this event truly demonstrated the power of unity and collective effort. The Sligo DPO has proven itself to be a driving force in their local community.

To capture the essence of this incredible evening, we encourage you to take a look at the wonderful photos  (by Sligo PPN) that beautifully encapsulate the energy and impact of the event. It’s a testament to the dedication and passion of all those who contributed.

A special shoutout goes to our very own Peter and the brilliant John Owens, who make an exceptional duo when it comes to creating authentic productions that leave a lasting impression. Your hard work and commitment are truly appreciated!

This event marked the debut of the “Navigating Ordinary Things” video series, a project close to our hearts. Sligo DPO is taking the lead in discussing critical topics such as physical barriers, the intersection between parenting and disability, and the imperative need for universal design. This is just the beginning, with five more insightful videos to come.

Stay tuned to the Sligo DPO Facebook page for what promises to be an enlightening series, sparking conversations that matter.

Once again, congratulations to everyone involved in making the launch of “Navigating Ordinary Things” a resounding triumph. Together, we’re making positive change happen, one conversation at a time.


Make Way Day is coming to a street where you live on Friday 22 September 2023 

Disability Awareness Workshop – 30th September 2023


AbilityWise are presenting a Disability Awareness Workshop on Saturday 30th September in Griffith College Cork from 10am-3pm.

Keynote speakers will share our lived experiences with living with disabilities such as Physical Disabilities, Deafness, Neurodiversity, Chronic Illnesses, and Mental Health Difficulties. This event will be invaluable training for any organisation.

Tickets are available through Eventbrite, see link below and please share this event with your networks.

For further information, please contact Deirdre on or 0852571482 to enquire about this workshop or the 90% government funding available for private sector businesses to avail of training with AbilityWise.

HSE Talking Health and Wellbeing Podcast, Episode 23 – Healthy Lunchboxes for Kids

In this episode we talk to Marian McBride, HSE Health & Wellbeing Dietetic Lead, about Healthy Lunchboxes for Kids and much more. There are lots of tips about healthier food options to try at children’s meal times and advice about what foods to include and what to leave out.

Hosted by Eamon Keogh, the episode includes new ideas on how to achieve a balanced diet for children.

Marian shares her professional and personal experiences about the most effective ways to introduce new foods into a child’s diet. She explains why it is important to support kids at a young age to develop a healthy relationship with food and what that means.

She also talks about how parents should give themselves a break and while it may not work the first time, she encourages parent’s to keep trying to introduce those healthier options into meal times and into lunchboxes. For more information and ideas visit: or

Marian also talks about the resources HSE Health & Wellbeing have developed to support schools and teachers to support a healthier food environment. All designed to help all children to eat a balanced diet at home and at school.

Listen and follow wherever you get your Podcasts or on the HSE Health and Wellbeing YouTube channel.

Thank you for your continued support and for those of you interested in the topic of healthy eating, stay tuned for further episodes later in the series. Please get in touch to find out more about our podcast series or the work of HSE Health and Wellbeing




HSE Partner Pack 1st September 2023

Dear Colleague,

Thank you for helping to share information and updates from our HSE teams and services.

Health service updates and information

Expansion of Free Contraception Service

On 14 September 2022, the Government launched  a free prescription and emergency contraception service for 17 to 25 year olds. This was extended to 17 to 26 year olds in January 2023.

From today, 1st September 2023, this service will be available to 17 to 30 year olds.

More information about the free contraception service is available here.

A campaign partner pack with more information is attached at the bottom of this message, describing the campaign and the ways that you and your organisation can help to get the word out through your channels.

You can also find social content about the new service on HSE Sexual Wellbeing channels including Facebook, Instagram and TikTok

Expansion of the Laura Brennan HPV Catch-Up Programme

The HPV vaccine is now available to all males aged 21 and under. The vaccine is also available to women aged 24 and under who have not previously had the vaccine. The catch-up programme will run until the end of the year.

HPV is a virus that can cause cancer. It spreads easily through sexual contact and causes genital warts, as well as certain cancers in men and women, like anal cancer, cervical cancer, and penile cancer.

For more information and to book an appointment visit

HSE back at Electric Picnic 2023 to provide harm reduction services

  • 70 HSE-trained volunteers
  • Five surrender bins
  • tents at three locations
  • On site lab for drug checking and real-time results

Continuing its partnership with Electric Picnic Festival (1st – 3rd September 2023), HSE’s Safer Nightlife Programme is expanding its service to include tents and outreach teams at three locations where the public can come for information, support and surrender drugs for ‘back of house’ for on-site drug checking.

This programme is an excellent example of a health-led response to drugs whereby the HSE, Gardai and festival organisers collaborate to ensure that a safe space is provided for people who use drugs at events to surrender drugs.

The Safer Nightlife campaign has already been delivered at both Life and Body and Soul Festivals this summer where harm reduction teams and ‘back of house’ drug checking has been provided to analyse drugs on-site. This work has led to the HSE issuing three risk communications relating to high strength, ketamine, cocaine and MDMA, as well as the HSE identifying three drugs which have never been detected before in Ireland.

The HSE teams can be found in the Main Arena, in the Jimmy Hendrix Campsite and in the Janus Joplin Campsite from Friday 12:00noon – 9:00pm and Saturday and Sunday 11:00am – 9:00pm. Updates will be shared on Twitter and Instagram @drugsdotie.

HSE raising awareness of the importance of keeping your brain healthy this World Alzheimer’s Month

The theme for this September’s World Alzheimer’s Month is “Never too early, never too late” with a focus on risk factors and risk reduction.

Many people don’t know the lifestyle factors that can increase the likelihood of developing dementia. Simple changes, such as eating a healthy diet, reducing your alcohol intake, exercising, keeping socially connected, quitting smoking and even minding your hearing, can all have a real impact on your risk and also improve outcomes for people with dementia.

With the number of people living with dementia more than double by 2045, it has never been more important to recognise the risk factors associated with dementia and take proactive steps towards risk reduction.

If you are concerned about dementia or memory loss, support is available. We work with the Alzheimer Society of Ireland to provide a national helpline, call free on 1800 341 341 (Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm, Saturday 10am to 4pm). For more information about the campaign, dementia and to find services and support near you, visit

We would be grateful if partners would help us raise awareness during the month, please find some template social media posts attached in the campaign pack at the bottom of this email. Thank you for helping to share the information.

GP Visit Cards for children Under 8

All children aged 0-7 can now get a GP Visit Card, which means free GP care for all children under 8 living in Ireland. Previously, this was available for all children under 6. The expansion will provide free GP care to an estimated 78,000 children aged 6 and 7. Current GP visit cards for children will automatically be extended until their 8th birthday.

If you have a GP visit card, you don’t have to pay to see your doctor. You will have to pay for medicines and other services.

Parents can register children for a GP visit card at If a child turns 6 on or after 1 July 2023, and already has a GP Visit Card, their card will automatically be extended by the HSE and they don’t need to register.

If people or a family already have a medical card for their child, they don’t need to register for this service. The medical card already provides free GP visits, along with other benefits.

If you need more information, please visit

HSE Talking Health & Welling Podcast: Season 2

Season 2 of the HSE Talking Health and Wellbeing Podcast began this week with a new episode on Positive Mental Health. Upcoming weekly episodes will include Alcohol and Pregnancy, Cancer Prevention, Dementia, Healthy Eating, Obesity, Financial Wellbeing and an episode with HSE CEO Bernard Gloster.

This successful podcast series highlights the breadth of work undertaken across health and wellbeing, talking to patients, staff and community partners about their experiences and perspectives.

All 20 episodes to date are still available for you to listen to on podcast channels such as Google, Spotify, or on the HSE Health and Wellbeing YouTube channel.


For information and advice, please go to and Clinical and professional guidance relating to COVID-19 is available on

Health service information for Ukrainian nationals

  • Updated mental health supports information is here
  • Disability services information is here
  • Healthcare services information is here
  • COVID-19 information is here
  • COVID-19 vaccination video, Dr Oksana Kozdoba, a Pediatrician from Ukraine, shares information about the vaccination programme in Ireland. She covers the vaccines offered in Ireland to protect babies, school children and adults.

If your organisation has any requests in relation to public health information materials, please reply directly to this email to let us know.

Many thanks,

Kahlil & Katie

Stakeholder Engagement, HSE Communications

Contact Information

HSE Partner Pack

Free Contraception 17-30 Partner Pack 2023v2



World Alzheimer’s Partner Pack 2023


ILMI eBulletin 25th August 2023

In this Issue:
ILMI and Friends of the Earth
SFC Proof of Impairment Working Group
ILMI’s “Governance for Change”
Disability Legal Network Book Club
ILMI in the
DPO Coalition Consultation Report

ILMI and Friends of the Earth webinar Monday 4th September at 7pm
IMAGE: Friends of the Earth Logo a green circle.

Energy poverty has reached alarming heights in Ireland, affecting a staggering 29% of households this year. The surge in energy prices has disproportionately impacted those already vulnerable to such increases: the elderly, single parents, Travellers, disabled people, and various tenants, including those in substandard living conditions.

At the forefront of this critical issue, Independent Living Movement UK (ILMI) is proud to announce the participation of our esteemed Policy Officer, Dr. James Casey, as a speaker in the upcoming webinar hosted by Friends of the Earth Ireland.

This webinar, set to take place on Monday, September 4th, at 7pm on Zoom, will delve into the multifaceted challenges posed by energy poverty in our society. The impacts of soaring energy costs are deeply felt, highlighting the need for swift action to address its far-reaching consequences. Among the primary questions to be explored are: Who benefits from the existing energy landscape? How can we expedite emissions reduction while ensuring equitable access to energy? Can the practice of retrofitting simultaneously curb greenhouse gas emissions and alleviate energy poverty?

As we confront these pressing concerns, the webinar will convene a diverse panel of activists and experts, including Alejandro Criado of CATU and a representative from the Ballyfermot Traveller Action Project. Dr. James Casey from ILMI will bring invaluable insights into the intersection of energy poverty and disability, a topic of paramount importance. The discussions will delve into the tangible human implications of energy poverty and chart the course for effective solutions, particularly in the lead-up to Budget 2024.

With the goal of fostering inclusive dialogue and collaborative problem-solving, this webinar serves as a vital platform for driving change. By illuminating the link between energy poverty and societal disparities, we strive to identify actionable strategies that empower all members of our community. Join us on September 4th to be a part of this impactful conversation, as we collectively advocate for a more just and sustainable future.

To register please go to this link

SFC (strategies For Change) Proof of Impairment Working Group (POIWG)

In this week’s POIWG we discussed the necessity of a Terms of Reference to keep us focused and on track. The group have agreed to focus on the Disability Parking Permit and the issue of “the policy of reapplying for the every 2 / 3 years. The group believe that having to prove that they have impairments every few years is ridiculous. Our impairment don’t disappear after 2 / 3 years, so what’s the story?

We want to:

•            Firstly find out who has sanctioned this policy (timeframe of reapplying) and have they – THEY could include the Dept of Transport, The Irish Wheelchair Association, the Disabled Drivers Association and the Dept of Finance.
•            Secondly find out have they ever reviewed the Parking Permit (happened in 2010 – 13 years ago) and if so did they consult with Disabled People and Disabled Persons Organisations.

We do know that in November of 2017 Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he would address the matter of adding autism as a qualifying factor for the Disability Parking Permit. And in June of last year Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Transport if the criteria to qualify for a Disabled Persons Parking Permit could be reviewed as there are a number of medical conditions that do not qualify for these permits. Answer in short was that the Disabled Parking Permit (also known as the European Parking Card or Disabled Parking Badge) is available to people living in Ireland whose mobility is severely restricted, whether they are drivers or passengers, and also to those who are registered blind.

We know that there is a currently a review of the Disabled Drivers and Passengers Scheme

Thirdly we want to know if they are including our issue of reapplying. Most impairments DO NOT DISAPPEAR!

We intend to make contact with all relevant stakeholders including Disabled People, so keep a close eye on our SFC Working Group Updates!

The group is also interested in the:

•            Disabled Drivers and Passenger Scheme review submission
•            Review how Local Authorities allocate disabled parking bays, numbers, locations, size…
•            Review how public disabled parking bays are mapped and their use recorded in each Local Authority area
•            The reviews that are carried out by Local Authorities on the suitability/quality of existing disabled parking bays?
•            Review of impact the of priority to public transport/active travel is having on allocation/location of disabled parking bays
•            Review of how public disabled parking bays are policed

We also think that the issue around disabled parking bays in private parking areas is another piece of work!

For more information contact

IMAGE: poster with text that reads "Voice Online 5 online events this September" with the VOICE and ILMI logo on a light pink and blue background

Calling All Disabled People in Kilkenny, Carlow, Waterford, Wexford, Kerry, Cork, and Tipperary!

VOICE is all about Connecting, Empowering, and amplifying Our voices as Disabled People. This September, we’re bringing you five exciting online gatherings, each focused on important topics that matter to our Community. From Housing, Intersectionality, unconscious bias and Collective Action – We’ve got you covered!

13 September 2023 at 7:00 PM
Register now as space is limited.
We hope you’re able to join us!
Warm Regards The ILMI VOICE Team
Email to register

ILMI’s “Governance for Change” Training Program
IMAGE; Zoom screenshot of the group and everyone is smiling

The ILMI Session 5 was an absolute success last week, diving into the crucial topic of applying to state boards. Siobhan Molumby and Niamh McGuinness from brought their expertise to the table, delivering an insightful session packed with valuable information.
The session covered a wide spectrum of topics, including:
Tracing the Origins of State Boards
Tackling Key Challenges
Embracing Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion
Navigating Reasonable Accommodations
Pro Tips: How to Effortlessly Navigate the Website and More!

The engagement was exceptional! Attendees had the chance to ask burning questions and indulge in lively discussions, making it a fantastic wrap to a remarkable five-week journey in the “Governance for Change” program.

Hats off to the all our fantastic participants and the incredible trainers for making this program such a success!

Disability Legal Network Book Club “Conversations about Activism and Change”
Image: Alannah Murray smiling in a graduation gown and cap

Just over 2 months ago, I was delighted to attend my first big legal event. I’m new to the legal sphere but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to discuss a book that was not only edited by a friend of mine (Shout out to Sarah Fitzgerald !) but features what I consider essential stories from the mouths of people who have lived the fight for disabled rights.

As we gathered around a table in The Sheds of the Distillery Building, Solicitor Gary Lee talked about his first-hand experience of fighting the legal aspect of disabled rights. I am in the unique position to have a foot in each camp. I got into law so I could help the community of leaders that welcomed me so openly all the way back when I first dipped my toe in activism back when I was a wide-eyed teen.

To have these stories from people I look up to such as Sarah Fitzgerald, Eileen Daly and Selina Bonnie particularly as a disabled woman within the added context of now having a new group of disability advocates who are also in the law profession has been wonderful. Being able to apply my passion for both law and advocacy wouldn’t be possible without books like “Conversations about Activism and Change”, without the work of the advocates before me, and without groups like the Disability Legal Network.

The legal system has not always been kind to disabled people and there is still a lot of work to be done; but we already have a thirty-year blueprint to follow. It’s not about trying to one up what’s been done before, it’s about trying to continue it.

Events like the energising evening I had listening to other people’s take on the stories of people that I call my friends has reignited something in me that I thought had fizzled out; and I can’t wait to see that passion spread through the legal field as more books like Conversations About Activism and Change are written, and more groups like the Disability Legal Network appear to continue the fight for true disabled equality.

* Alannah Murray is a legal student pursuing a Diploma in Legal Studies in Kings Inns. They are a committee member of the Disability Legal Network, and a committed advocate for disabled people.

Our book “Conversations About Activism & Change” is available in all great bookshops now stockists on this link 

ILMI in the
IMAGE: screenshot of the journal page with a headshot photo of Claire and text detailed below.

“The rights of disabled people should be embedded with sustainable development plans
ILMI’s Claire Kenny says disabled people must not be forgotten in the plans for sustainable living.”

Quote from the piece: “Inclusivity goes beyond physical access; attitudinal and long-held societal beliefs are significant barriers we face as disabled people.

In Irish society, when we, as disabled people, are given a rare platform, we are often asked about our impairments, the limitations they impose, the lack of services, and the obstacles to our participation.

Our lives are not defined solely by our impairments; we have complex identities shaped by ethnicity, class, gender, sexual identity, family status, and more. We live full and active lives, yet we are continually subjected to tired tropes: the tragic disabled person or the inspirational hero who overcame their impairment. We are often exploited for charity, but our rightful place as equal members of society, who should be consulted on all issues we face, is often overlooked.”

Full article on this link

Disabled Peoples Organisation (DPO) Coalition Consultation Report

​​​The DPO Coalition worked from January 2020 to November 2021 to develop a Consultation report based on the views and experiences of disabled people in Ireland. This report was based on 672 surveys and 8 focus groups.  This Consultation Report was created in advance of the Irish Government presenting to the United Nations Committee on the Government’s work to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). The report was launched in June 2023.
The DPO Coalition was made up of national Disabled People’s Organisations in Ireland who worked together to develop this report. The organisations involved in developing this report were:

  • As I Am – Ireland’s National Autism Advocacy Organisation
  • Disabled Women of Ireland ​ (DWI)​
  • Independent Living Movement Ireland (ILMI)
  • Irish Deaf Society (IDS)
  • National Platform of Self Advocates
  • Voice of Vision Impairment (VVI)

The Consultation Report provides information and insights into the lives of disabled people. Many of these are worrying such as lack of access to essential services, healthcare and public buildings. It also presents clear actions Government can focus on to improve disabled people’s lives and enable disabled people to participate fully in society.  This Consultation Report provides independent information collected on the lived experience and views of disabled people on the rights outlined in the Convention.
The report is available in accessible MS Word, designed PDF and an ISL video translation here

Key Findings of the Consultation Report include:
Based on specific articles of the UN CRPD, the DPO Coalition Consultation identified the following issues facing disabled people in Ireland that need immediate action.
Article 4.3 
The Irish Government should clearly identify and give priority to the supporting capacity of organisations of disabled people and prioritise their contributions in decision making.  A register of DPOs will support the government to implement this article across government departments and organisations. DPOs need to be distinguished from organisations ‘for’ disabled people.
Consultation on issues relating to disabled people must be interpreted broadly, and include:

  • Planning and designing of public places
  • Transport
  • Work conditions
  • Healthcare settings
  • Decision-making processes

Article 5: Equality and non-discrimination
This State must:

  • Provide accessible information about anti-discrimination supports like the Workplace Relations Commission
  • Provide free legal aid
  • Acknowledge financial constraints on many disabled people

Article 9: Accessibility 
Accessibility issues are common across public services and general society. They can occur across physical environment, transportation and technology. The State must:

  • Remove institutional and bureaucratic barriers ​to ​accessing services by ​​providing Personal Assistance (PA), or Irish Sign Language (ISL) interpreters
  • Acknowledge and respond to individuals’ communication support needs and preferences
  • Enact regulations on designing accessible public places and transportation
  • Provide information and materials in accessible formats

Article 27           Right to work on an equal basis with others
The State must:

  • Enable disabled people to counter employment discrimination
  • Increase public awareness of disabled people’s capacity to work and right to reasonable accommodations
  • Promote employment for disabled people
  • Remove barriers to work, including financial penalties
  • Meet public sector targets for employment

 Article 19          Living independently and being included in the community
The right to live independently is not equally available in Ireland, due to:

  • Lack of in-home and community-based services
  • Financial penalties for living with partners
  • Lack of access to suitable housing
  • Personal Assistance (PA) availability and access to community facilities are key.

Article 25           Health
The State must:

  •  ​Provide affordable, equal and timely access to all healthcare services, and, in particular, to mental healthcare and reproductive healthcare
  • Provide sexual and reproductive services and related information in accessible formats
  • Remove physical barriers to access
  •  Facilitate access to ​​gender-sensitive services, including health-related rehabilitation. Such services are sensitive to people’s individual gender identities and sexual preferences.
  • Train and raise awareness among healthcare service providers and professionals about disability​     ​

Article 30           Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport
There is low participation of disabled people  in many areas of life is due to:

  • Accessibility issues
  • Low public awareness of the supports available
  • Low awareness from organisations of their responsibilities under the law to facilitate access for disabled people
  • Absence of supports including Irish Sign Language
  • We need to raise awareness across society about inclusion, accessibility, the power of language and non-discrimination.

Article 6              Disabled women
Disabled women and girls are subject to multiple forms of discrimination in education, employment, healthcare services and experience antisocial behaviour in society.  The State must:

  • Focus on full and equal participation of women in society through investing in their education and facilitating employment of disabled women
  • Provide financial supports for disabled women who are parents and/or have caring responsibilities
  • Provide effective supports for disabled women who are exposed to domestic violence, abuse and discrimination

Article 7              Disabled children  
​​​​​​​Disabled children experience exclusion and discrimination in the education system, lack access to information, and ​​often have limited access to necessary therapeutic services and supports.  The State must:

  • Remove institutional and bureaucratic barriers in diagnostic services and the assessment of need process
  • Make it so that people do not have to be diagnosed to be able to access supports
  • Help parents of disabled children find the services they need more easily
  • Consult with disabled children and their parents

​​ Article 24  Education
The State must:

  • Train and raise awareness for teachers and other educational staff
  • Provide educational materials in accessible formats
  • Remove barriers limiting options in higher and further education
  • Oblige providers to provide necessary supports and access to education
  • Address barriers in access to technology for childhood development and education

Article 13           Access to justice

Disabled people have little confidence in the legal and criminal justice system and relevant supports. This is due to lack of information for disabled people, ​​and lack of awareness of disability and accessibility amongst legal professionals.  This can all result in discriminatory outcomes for ​​disabled people engaging with the criminal system, including victims.


ILMI eBulletin 11th of August 2023

ILMI eBulletin
ILMI eBulletin 11th August 2023



As always if you want to know more about any of these articles or ILMI’s work in general then do get in touch. You can reach us at


In this issue:
SFC Accessible Taxis Activism (ATA) Working Group
SFC Proof of Impairment Working Group
SFC Project
Governance for Change Session 4
A Disorder for Everyone (AD4E) Online Festival 2023

SFC Accessible Taxis Activism (ATA) Working Group

IMAGE: zoom screenshot of group

This week our SFC Accessible Taxis Activism (ATA) Working Group got together to chat about both our work over the coming months and developments regarding disabled people accessing accessible taxis. Not enough disabled people are reporting, or are under reporting incidences to the NTA, it is a serious issue. The group are working towards creating an awareness video about how to complain if a taxi driver refuses your booking because you are a wheelchair user, or does not show up because you are a wheelchair user or disrespects you because you are a wheelchair user. In the coming months the group are going to invite ILMI members and disabled people to complete a survey regarding the lived experiences of disabled people and feed it back to the National Transport Authority.

Two developments were also discussed. In January of this year the National Transport Authority (NTA) sanctioned a new fine in relation to taxi drivers refusing to carry a wheelchair user / or a Guide or Assistance Dog. The fine is €250 per incident and both NTA Compliance Officers and any member of An Garda Síochána may issue this fine. This fine may be issued as a result of a roadside check by a NTA Compliance Officer or a member of An Garda Síochána or they may be issued following a complaint from a customer. The fines payable are up to €250 see this link for more information

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has an app called Driver Check, this information was new to the group. The App allows any passenger to check the licence details of both the vehicle and the driver, and to see an ID photo of the authorised driver. The App is easy to use; all a passenger has to do is launch the app on their phone, and then input one of the following:
1)  Ordinary vehicle registration number
2)  Vehicle licence number – displayed on roof-sign and on door signs
3)  Driver licence number (displayed on the ID card on the dashboard of the taxi) or
4)  Scan the QR code on the vehicle which is located on a disc on both the front and back windscreens.
You can also make a complaint about a driver using the information that you have inputted via the App.
We finished up by posing the following question:

What makes an Accessible Taxi ACCESSIBLE, are there guidelines, as many considerations need to be considered, e.g. size of both a wheelchair and its make and model, its user, e.g. tall person, larger person, the clamping system e.g. is it secure, the make and model of the vehicle?

Stay posted to find out the answer to this question in our next update!

If you would like any further information about our work please contact

Strategies for Change (SFC) Proof of Impairment Working Group

IMAGE: Zoom screenshot of the group

Last week the SFC Proof of Impairment working group gathered. Our initial focus was reviewing the SFC Group contract, recognising its role in fostering a positive group dynamic for our work. The meeting was productive, involving discussions on updates and an engaged dialogue about our forthcoming objectives. Proof of impairment, in the context of disabled people, involves validating our specific disabilities through established processes, despite the likelihood of those impairments being permanent, in order to access appropriate support, accommodations, or benefits. The team is enthusiastic, sensing that our shared goals are indeed attainable. Our next meeting is scheduled for 21st August.

If you would like any further information about our work please contact

ILMI Strategies for Change (SFC) Programme, Empowering Disability Activism through Collective Learning

The ILMI (Independent Living Movement Ireland) Strategies for Change (SFC) programme has emerged as a groundbreaking initiative that empowers disabled people across Ireland to come together, strategise, and drive societal transformation. By fostering collective activism, cultivating critical thinking, and harnessing the potential of digital platforms, the programme is shaping a dynamic and unique approach to disability “speak up and speak out” (advocacy) and policy change.

Empowerment through Knowledge and Language, Professor Colin Barnes, who was born blind and whose parents were disabled, concluded the programme by highlighting the significance of understanding the Social Model of Disability and adopting its language. He shared that he was never made to feel different due to his impairment, emphasising that societal organisation, not impairments, is the core issue. Language plays a pivotal role in shaping perception, as Professor Barnes encouraged participants to identify as “Disabled People” to embrace a social model approach and unite as change-makers.

From Seeds to Collective Activism, a core facet of the SFC programme is to continue the work initiated by early disability movement pioneers. A transformation of disability services, policy, and law. The objective is to challenge societal norms and enable disabled people to actively participate as equals. The seeds of collective activism have been sown, encouraging participants to germinate these ideas, foster knowledge sharing, build solidarity, and collaboratively become the agents of change.

Critical Thinking a Tool for Empowerment, another pivotal session within the programme delves into critical thinking’s role in empowerment. Dr. Máire Ní Mhórdha of NUI Maynooth introduced participants to the concept, emphasising the importance of not accepting information at face value. Critical thinking enables individuals to form their own opinions, weigh information, and engage in a deeper understanding of the world. Participants recognised that critical thinking isn’t solely about complex problem solving but also encompasses everyday decisions and assessments.

Digital Platforms Opportunities and Challenges, the SFC programme acknowledges the role of digital platforms in modern activism, providing access to wider audiences and opportunities for collaboration. However, the programme is mindful of the challenges these platforms bring. Participants gained insights into navigating conflicts within online spaces and learned about algorithmic channelling, where private corporations control information dissemination.

Resilience through Shared Solutions, Aileen O’Carroll, David Laudy, and Máire Ní Mhórdha shared findings from their research on digital activism within the abortion rights movement, offering insights into the practical challenges campaigners face. These insights helped participants develop strategies for efficient digital organising. Solutions included moderation groups, blending online and offline interactions, investing in technology, and setting clear boundaries for engagement.

Unity in Diversity for Change, the SFC programme encourages unity among disabled people and allies, focusing on the collective rather than individual stories. By fostering shared goals and providing a platform for diverse voices, the programme aims to disrupt existing power structures. It acknowledges that disabled individuals face unique challenges but possess the tools for critical thinking that empower them to advocate for change.

In the realm of activism, Neill Crowley and Des Kenny both echo the sentiment that activism and values are inextricably linked. Des Kenny said “Our Values are like muscles the more we engage them in our activism work the stronger we become”. This underscores the notion that consistent engagement in activism not only amplifies our values but also strengthens our capacity to drive meaningful change. Values serve as the moral compass that guides our actions, infusing our efforts with purpose and integrity. As we align our activism with these core beliefs, we not only advocate for change but also foster a deeper connection to the causes we champion, ultimately igniting a powerful force for societal transformation.

Forging a Dynamic Future, the ILMI Strategies for Change programme stands as a dynamic, unique, and groundbreaking initiative for disabled people in Ireland. By fostering collective activism, nurturing critical thinking, and harnessing digital platforms, the programme propels a new era of disability “speak up and speak out” (advocacy). As disabled people unite under the banner of “Disabled People,” they embrace the Social Model of Disability, challenge disabling barriers, and collectively strive to bring about transformative societal change. This programme paves the way for a future where disabled voices are heard, understood, strengthened, and empowered to make a lasting impact. Lots more info on this link

If you would like any further information about our work please contact

Governance for Change Session 4

IMAGE: Zoom screenshot of group

On the 9th of August, ILMI’s “Governance for Change” training programme delved into Session 4, exploring “Financial Oversight for Board Members” with the guidance of Andrea Shupinski from Carmichael, Ireland. To kick off the session, Andrea prompted the group with the question, “What comes to mind when you think of finance?” This set the stage for a comprehensive exploration of financial responsibilities and duties, various types of financial reports, effective financial management, deciphering financial jargon, analysing case studies, and understanding the pertinent questions to ask while identifying potential warning signs.

The session proved to be a valuable source of information, underscoring the indispensable role of money management and bookkeeping in the operation of any organisation or charity. The significance of maintaining financial control was emphasised, highlighting the critical importance of good financial oversight. One notable illustration shared was the means through which fraud can be detected and addressed effectively.”

“I personally found today’s session to be enlightening, recognising the fundamental role that financial vigilance plays in the realm of governance. The insights gained have illuminated the vital connection between financial health and the success of an organisation. As we delved into the nuances of financial oversight, it became clear that this knowledge is crucial for anyone involved in the governance of nonprofits.”

“Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the session and gained valuable insights. Each topic was expertly presented, making the intricacies of financial oversight accessible to everyone. I eagerly anticipate next week’s session, eager to expand my understanding further and continue developing my skills in effective governance practices.”

A Disorder for Everyone (AD4E) Online Festival 2023

Join AD4E on Friday, September 22, for the 4th edition of “A Disorder for Everyone! – The Online Festival 2023.” This transformative event is part of the Workshops that offer non-pathologising approaches collection, challenging the culture of diagnosis and disorder. Backed by the overwhelming success of previous festivals with participants from over 18 countries, this year’s festival promises a whole day of change-making talks, presentations, conversations, and poetry. Their esteemed contributors, including Lucy Johnstone, Johann Hari, Gabor Maté, and many more, are passionate advocates who challenge the mainstream medicalised paradigm of emotional distress. Together, they aim to demand change, support people’s stories, and break free from scientifically questionable labels. The festival is donation-based to ensure accessibility, and we encourage you to spread the word and join in this movement for positive transformation. Reserve your spot now and experience the dynamic energy and wisdom of like-minded individuals. Let’s come together on this day of meaningful discussions and growth! More details on this link



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HSE Health and Wellbeing Annual Report 2022


We are pleased to share with you our HSE Health and Wellbeing Annual Report for 2022. This report outlines the key activities that HSE Health and Wellbeing delivered both nationally and locally last year with insights shared from across our policy areas, partners and various work streams.

Welcoming the report Helen Deely, Assistant National Director HSE Health and Wellbeing said: “During 2022 as we started to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, HSE Health and Wellbeing continued its commitment to working with our many partners, HSE colleagues and voluntary organisations to address the underlying factors that drive chronic ill-health. This was achieved through collaborative, evidence-based and community-focused action.”

We hope that you would peruse this document that aims to give you insights across our areas of work as we progress the implementation of Healthy Ireland in the health service. The report also includes lots of links to further information on the work and other assets such as videos, webinars and publications developed and published last year.

To stay up to date with HSE Health and Wellbeing check out or subscribe to our channels: HSE Health and Wellbeing Website & our Ezine, listen to our Podcast, follow on Twitter, subscribe free on YouTube & join our Mailing List.


DFI Newsletter – August 2023

August Update 


Welcome to our August Member update!


We have a number of different training opportunities for you this month: Public Sector Duty Workshops, Key Worker Training, a Masterclass series from We Act and a workshop on digital accessibility.


We invite you to our next Policy and Advocacy Members Forum on 14 September.  


We recently welcomed three new DFI Members: Autism Support Louth and Meath; Dara Community Living; and, Employability West Cork. You can find out more about them here.


We have some changes to the DFI Board to share with you.


We also want to say thank you for your support of our Self-Advocate Media Training course which is now full.


We are grateful for your support of our Take Action email campaign which has now concluded.  Our email campaign conclued as the pay talks between the unions and the Government relating to the funding of staff in voluntary Section 39 funded organisations broke down. Our Section 39 advocacy work will continue to get this issue resolved.


We also invite you to save the date for #MakeWayDay23 on Friday 22 September and to contact us for resources!


In this month’s Member Spotlight we feature Sligo Centre for Independent Living. 


In this issue:
Member Spotlight


Actioning Advocacy



Health Update 


Eye on Europe


Events and Consultations


Policy & Research




The DFI Podcast 


Member Spotlight



Sligo Centre for Independent Living 


This month’s Member Spotlight focuses on Sligo Centre for Independent Living (Sligo CIL). 


Sligo CIL is a not for profit organistation set up in 1996 by a group of local people with physical disabilities – Sean Brennan RIP, Eugene O’Brien RIP, Tom Cunningham and Gerry McEvoy. It continues to have strong representation of people with a disability at a director level today. Its purpose is to promote self-determination and independence for individuals living with a disability while also fostering their integration and inclusion into the wider community. Sligo CIL is independently run but affiliated to a larger network of CILs nationally and internationally and prides itself on being a professional modern non-profit organisation, now providing all aspects of non-medical support to people with disabilities.


DFI’s Communications Manager Brenda Drumm, met with Sligo CIL’s CEO Maria Mulligan, and asked her about the history of the organisation, the services provided, the challenges in 2023 and what keeps her going!


Listen to the interview with Maria in full here.


Watch the Sligo CIL Postcard here on Tik Tok.


You can find out more about the work of Sligo CIL here.


If you like to be featured in the Member Spotlight please email Brenda.

Events and Consultations 
Introducing the new chair of the DFI Board
At our AGM on 29 June a number of board changes were acknowledged by outgoing Chair of the DFI Board Fran Brennan. Fran paid tribute to outgoing Board Members Pat Clarke, Wendy McCarry and Darragh McDonald and welcomed DFI’s two new Board Members Aoife Lambe who works with MS Ireland and Padraig Hannafin who works with the Rehab Group.


At the DFI Board meeting following our AGM our CEO John Dolan paid tribute to Fran Brennan as he stood down as Chair of the Board as his three year term concluded. John said, “Fran commenced as Chair in 2020 in the height of the Covid crisis and not long after we commenced grappling with remote meetings. This was a big challenge to us all and Fran led us capably into that method of doing the board work.


“I mark Fran’s time as Chairperson with two strong memories. Firstly his consistent time and attention to his role and secondly how he always brought the focus back to the member organisations within DFI. In this he was conscious, just as in his organisation, Polio Survivors Ireland, that so many disabled people rely on the work of the organisations to stand up for them and with them to make critical improvements in their day to day lives.”


Fran continues to serve on the Board of DFI.


Elections at the recent DFI Board meeting saw Michael Doyle take the position of Chair; Gráinne O’Leary taking the position of First Vice Chairperson; and, Siobhan Long taking the position of Second Vice Chairperson. You can find all the DFI Board details here.


Commenting on his election Michael Doyle said, “It’s an honour to be appointed Chairperson of DFI. I look forward to working with the board and the executive of DFI to progress our mission of achieving an Ireland where people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of society. I recognise that I take up this position at a time when member organisations are facing unprecedented challenges and that the expertise and dedication of the staff in DFI are more than ever an essential resource for our members to help highlight and address these issues.”

Building capacity and education opportunities around the public sector equality and human rights duty for DFI members 
DFI has been developing its capacity to implement the public sector equality and human rights duty (the Duty), a statutory obligation on public bodies to have regard for the need to eliminate discrimination, promote equality of opportunity and protect the human rights of staff, service-users and policy beneficiaries, taking into account all of the organisation’s functions.


While the Duty is directly addressed to public bodies, it is clear that it will indirectly impact on and become a requirement for our member organisations in receipt of state funding (section 38 and 39 organisations).


Training for DFI Member Organisations 


In response to this, DFI established a working group, secured funding from the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, and engaged Values Lab to develop supports for and provide training to DFI and our member organisations in relation to implementing the Duty.


It is that this initiative will limit the additional burden of implementing the Duty on over-stretched organisations, while enabling them to reap what are considerable benefits for organisations from implementing this Duty.


The working group has developed a set of templates for member organisations to support them to implement the Duty.


Who will be delivering the training? 


The training will be delivered by Rachel Mullen and Niall Crowley, co-founders of Values Lab.


Watch this short two minute video where Rachel outlines all you need to know about the value of the training and gives a brief overview of what the tools that have been developed.


Choose your Zoom Training Session now


It is intended that member organisations might select one training session from the options below:



Please note that these links are for self-registration.


Who should attend?


It is suggested that you might identify between two and four staff from your organisation to attend one session. Those attending would ideally be: senior managers and/or staff who have a particular role in the development of organisational policies and plans.


Geraldine from Blanchardstown CIL shares her experience of the training session: 


“I am really glad that I took part in this workshop. It was really useful for such a small, local organisation like us. The training gave us the opportunity to clarify how to roll out the templates in our organisation. We have spread the word about it to our board and the templates are helpful in planning for our next work plan and shows that we are working from a human rights perspective and how to report on it. We are all about autonomy and voice of the person and the templates and the training encouraged us to ensure those voices are heard.  The templates and the discussion affirmed what we are doing already, and the process of developing the templates showed us how to name and show it.”


If you have any queries about this upcoming training please email Kevin.

A campaign Thank You for 3,327 emails sent to TDs and Senators on the crisis in disability services 

On 1 June we launched an email campaign inviting people to send an email to their local TDs and Senators about the viability of disability services which are threatened by the ongoing recruitment and retention issues in Section 39 disability funded organisations.


The email reminded TDs and Senators that the Government has a commitment to provide sustainable quality services as outlined in the current Programme for Government and the Department of Health’s Disability Capacity Review (2021) and that none of this can happen if organisations cannot recruit and retain the staff needed to deliver their existing funded services.


The email campaign took place from 1 June to the Summer recess with an official end date of 31 July 2023. We finished the campaign with a total of 3,327 emails sent to TDs and Senators! We offer our thanks to you for the support of this campaign!


The DFI email campaign conclued as the pay talks between the unions and the Government relating to the funding of staff in voluntary Section 39 funded organisations broke down. You can read the statement we issued on the breakdown of the talks here.


The Disability Federation of Ireland will continue to work with its member organisations and on behalf of disabled people and their families to get this resolved.

Disability awareness and inclusion training 
We are currently reviewing our disability awareness and inclusion training module, which we have most recently delivered to multiple local authority staff in county councils across Ireland.


These sessions have been co-delivered with a person with a disability and we are keen to ensure this voice is represented more strongly as we update our module content.


With this in mind we are planning a one-day workshop for Thursday 28 September in our Dublin office. We are inviting member organisations who would like to offer feedback to us on our training module to be part of the workshop. Member organisations can contribute either through a staff member or a service owner representing on the day.


Spaces are limited at the workshop but we will do our best to accommodate opinions or inputs through other formats.


If you are interested in being involved of this review of our disability awareness and inclusion training, please email Kevin for more information.

Save the Date for #MakeWayDay23 – Friday 22 September 
Make Way Day 2023 is coming to a street where you live on Friday 22 Septemer.


Make Way Day is an annual campaign to raise public awareness about the problems caused by obstacles blocking footpaths which create access and health/safety issues for people with disabilities.


Get in touch with us if there is something you are planning for Make Way Day this year. You can also share your plans on social media using our hashtag #MakeWayDay23.


We are delighted to be working with An Garda Síochána again this year on the campaign.


Our online survey tool will be available once again on the website


We have stickers and hashtag signs available to order if you are planning an event and would like some visuals. Please email Brenda for more information and to be added to our mailing list for receipt of this year’s social media kit.


Pictured above are DFI staff members marking the two month countdown on 22 July last. 


Marketing Masterclass Series from We Act 
We Act is joining forces with The National Lottery to offer a Marketing Masterclass Series.


Staff and volunteers from across the charity and community sector are invited to attend these free online communications training sessions. These sessions will be facilitated by experts in their fields who will share practical tips and tools to help you and your organisation reach the right audiences and share the work you do in ways that are engaging and impactful.


The three-part series will be held on Zoom, and is free to attend, simply register for each session at the links below:


Thursday, 31 August, 11:00 – 12.30pm: Finding Your Online Voice 

Click here to register 


Thursday, 7 September, 11:00 – 12:30 PM: Managing Media Relationships

Click here to register 


Thursday, 14 September, 11:00 – 12:30 PM: Driving Meaningful Traffic to Your Site

Click here to register 


Actioning Self-Advocacy

Self-Advocate Media Training in November 2023 
We are grateful for your support in filling our Self-Advocate Media Training course which will take place in November.


Places were be limited to 10, but a waiting list for the next course in Spring 2024 is also available. Email PJ Cleere to be added to the list.


To get a flavour of what’s involved in the Media Training course click on the link below to watch our media training participants (pictured above with Miriam O’Callaghan and the DFI team) sharing their experience of the course from March of this year.

Click here to watch our Media Training video 
Self-Advocacy Awareness Training for Key Workers and Carers 
DFI are hosting four training sessions on Self-Advocacy for Key Workers and Carers. Participants will be offered inputs on advocacy, self-advocacy, health and wellbeing for the keywork or carer, facilitation skills and group work.


The training sessions will take place online starting on 20 September and continuing on 27 September and on 4 and 11 October 2023.


There are 20 places available on the course. As well as the inputs highlighted above, participants will have time to network and share experiences with one another in this space.


We are taking applications by email to Áine O’Sullivan, Community Development Officer with DFI. The closing date for applicants is 6 September. Email Áine or call 086 171 7119.


Policy & Research

DFI calls for action on Cost of Disability at Pre-Budget Forum – Strawman Consultaton in Autumn 

DFI recently attended the Department of Social Protection’s Pre Budget Forum. It was great to see many DFI members there. As always, we highlighted the disproportionately high disability poverty rates, low employment rates, and the increasingly urgent need to address the extra Cost of Disability. We participated in a well-attended ‘Disability and Caring’ workshop, where all organisations present were united in their call for a Cost of Disability payment in the forthcoming budget. You can read our detailed submission to the Department of Social Protection, which contains all the latest research and statistics on disability poverty, here.


At the forum, Minister Heather Humphreys spoke about the pending ‘strawman’ consultation as the way her Department will address Cost of Disability. The government commitment is to “develop and consult on a ‘strawman’ proposal for the restructuring of long term disability payments to simplify the system and take account of the concerns expressed in the Make Work Pay report.” We anticipate that this consultation will take place in the Autumn, and will keep members updated, as it will be an important process for us all to engage with.


Reminder about our Budget 2024 Landing Page 


We have a new landing page for #Budget24 on our website which includes our own materials along with member organisation content and wider sector materials. If you have a Pre-Budget Submission or a resource that you would like us to include there, please email Brenda.

Click here for our #Budget24 landing page 
Energy Poverty – your feedback is needed to inform our advocacy 
As we’ve previously highlighted, DFI is increasingly working on Energy Poverty. We recently attended the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities’ Consumer Stakeholder Group meeting, where we highlighted the importance of considering the needs of disabled people, as plans and customer protection measures are being developed for another cold and expensive Winter ahead. We’ve also had some discussions with the Energy Poverty Unity in the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, as they try to make sure that supports on energy poverty reach those most in need this year.

Is energy poverty coming up in your work, and are the disabled people you support struggling to pay their bills? Does your organisation provide funds to support people with their extra energy needs, due to disability? We’d love to hear more from members about the level of need and their work in this area, so we can reflect that in our advocacy.


If you’re interested to know more about this area of our work, do drop a line to Fleachta.

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty – Public Awareness Funding 
Each year the Department of Social Protection provides funding for small initiatives to promote public awareness of the UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. This funding is open to anti-poverty organisations and groups working with people experiencing poverty at national or local level.


Last year DFI was awarded one of these grants, and with the help of DFI members MS Ireland and CRC, and their self-advocates, we made a video about the Cost of Disability, which you can see here – It would be great to see some DFI members getting this grant this year.


The Department has announced that applications for the UN Day 2023 funding initiative are now welcome with a closing date of August 25, 2023.


The theme of this year’s UN Day events is: Let dignity be our compass: working together towards change to end persistent poverty


For more information check out this link.

Join us for our next Policy and Advocacy Members Forum on 14 September 
The next meeting of our Policy and Advocacy Members Forum will take place on Thursday 14 September from 11.00am to12.30pm.


This member forum is a collective space to support members to share updates and intelligence, collectively strategise on policy and advocacy developments, and to support networking and peer engagement for relevant staff across member organisations.

We expect to talk about Budget 2024 and hear about your priorities and advocacy work, and to discuss upcoming policy developments and consultations.


Drop Fleachta a line if you’re interested in learning more about this member space and getting involved.

‘Left Out in the Cold’ – Friends of the Earth Energy Poverty Webinar 
Friends of the Earth are inviting registrations for a webinar entitled ‘Left Out in the Cold’ which is taking place on 4 September.


Energy poverty reached a new high in Ireland this year at 29% of households. Energy prices have skyrocketed leaving those most vulnerable to price increases to bear the brunt – the elderly, single parents, Travellers, disabled people, and tenants of all types in substandard accommodation.

Meanwhile, residential property contributes to 11% of our greenhouse gas emissions with poorer insulated housing requiring more fossil fuels to heat.


During this webinar questions will be posed on who benefits from this current setup and how we can reduce emissions in a faster and fairer way so no one is left behind. Can we simultaneously reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lessen energy poverty through retrofitting? Can we guarantee warm homes for all?

Join them on Zoom on Monday 4 September from 7.00pm where they will be discussing the impacts of energy poverty and solutions to these crises. With a mix of activists and practitioners they will dig into the human impacts of this issue and what decision-makers can do to solve it, particularly in the run-up to Budget 2024.

Speakers will include Alejandro Criado of CATU, Dr James Casey, from Independent Living Movement Ireland and a speaker from the Ballyfermot Traveller Action Project.

Register Here
Annual Report 2022: National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities 
The 2022 Annual Report for the National Advocacy Service (NAS) for People with Disabilities and the Patient Advocacy Service was launched on 31 July 2023.


The report shows that in 2022, the Patient Advocacy Service saw an increase of 54% in service enquiries. NAS provided 3,576 instances of advocacy and received 3,201 initial enquiries.


The most common issues were around capacity building, housing, residential and healthcare settings, decision making, and social care.


You can read the report in full here.


Health Update 

HSE Health Regions Implementation Plan published 

The Government has published the HSE Health Regions Implementation Plan and approved the recruitment of the six Regional Executive Officer posts to lead these regions. Health Regions offer an exciting opportunity to shape the future of health and social care and will allow us to deliver safer, better care that is planned and funded in line with local and regional needs. This plan sets out the direction of travel for the Health Regions implementation over the next 18 months.  You are encouraged to review the plan as the implementation of Health Regions is a major transformation as well as a complex programme that will impact all of us.


Following this publication the Health Regions Programme Team in collaboration with HSE Communications has developed a presentation for your information. This presentation is designed to keep you up to date on the current status and future phases of implementation of the Health Regions Programme.


Click here for the plan and the presentation so as all organisations become aware of the challenges and milestones in our pursuit of more integrated patient centred services at a local level.


There will be ongoing updates as the programme progresses and further detail can be found on the Health Regions web page.


If you have any queries do not hesitate to contact the Health Regions Programme directly on


DFI also welcomes your comments and queries to Cathy.

Correspondence relating to increasing cases of Covid-19
We have recieved correspondence issued by the Chief Clinical Officer regarding increasing cases of Covid-19. Click on the link below to access the letter.


Please note within the letter, the need for ongoing effective prevention and controls.

Click here for text of letter 
Online Training on Digital Accessibility from the European Disability Forum 
We invite you to register for an online training workshop on digital accessibility on 12 September from 2:00pm to 4:30pm.


The training will include theory and practical exercises, as well as questions and answers. It will be of particular interest to those working in communications, marketing and digital media in your organisation.


The training is offered by the European Disability Forum.  All are welcome. Click on the registration link below.


Registration Link 

 An Eye on Europe


The European Disability Card and passenger rights – what does it entail?
After many years of campaigning by EDF and its members, the European Disability Card is one step closer to becoming a reality when the European Commission publishes their proposal for a law expanding the Card in September.


As announced in the Disability Rights Strategy 2021-2030, the EU Disability Card will be one of the “Flagship Initiatives”, and was one of the key initiatives for 2023 announced by the President of the Commission during the State of the European Union address.


The history of the EU Disability Card


The proposal for a EU Disability Card dates back from 2010, when the Disability Movement began campaigning for it. Initially, it was referred to as the “European Mobility Card” to emphasise the aspect of freedom of movement within the EU. However, later on, the European Commission decided to rename it as the “Disability Card.”

From 2016 to 2018, the EU conducted a pilot project across eight Member States (Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Malta, Romania, Slovenia). This initiative funded the Card’s launch and the establishment of national databases, where service providers could offer benefits to Card holders. The project operated on the principle of mutual recognition, allowing participating Member States to acknowledge the EU Disability Card from other countries, even if it followed national regulations. The project’s evaluation deemed it a successful endeavour and recommended further continuation.


For more on the results of the pilot project and what the card will mean click here.


 The DFI Podcast


Episode Six of the DFI podcast on the recruitment and retention crisis in disability services 
Episode Six of The DFI Podcast is focusing on the recruitment and retention crisis in the disability sector.


Disability organisations providing services, under contract from the HSE, right across the country are gravely worried. The non-reversal of deep cuts to pay and services during the recession, which ended in 2013, is not news to government. This situation has been festering for over a decade and it is compounded by a crisis where staff are leaving to simply move to the HSE and elsewhere to get the government agreed pay and conditions. Consequently, services to disabled people are being further restricted and downgraded on a daily basis for some time.


DFI’s Communications Manager Brenda Drumm spoke to DFI CEO John Dolan about the recruitment and retention crisis in disability services. She also spoke to Mags Rodgers of the Neurological Alliance of Ireland and to Kath Wall from the Board of Donegal Centre for Independent Living.  Donna Russell who has been using the Donegal CIL service for 18 years also spoke to Brenda along with personal assistant with Donegal CIL Stephanie Bonner.


Click here to listen to Episode Six.


DFI is delighted to be partnering with TTM Healthcare Solutions on this project.


Click here to subscribe to all episodes of The DFI Podcast on Spotify.

Democracy through civic engagement and participation grant 
The Saint Stephen’s Green Trust is now inviting applications under a new funding programme in 2023 that aims to contribute to a ‘high energy democracy’ by supporting civil society groups to:


  • Engage in participative and deliberative democracy initiatives that harness the power of civil society to transform democratic decisionmaking processes
  • Develop progressive platforms for collective power and influence which use valuesbased approaches to identify elements of transformative change
  • Create spaces for participation and voice, particularly among those who are most marginalised


This is a one-off grant programme to fund groups on the island of Ireland up to €15,000 for work taking place over 12 to 18 months.


The closing date for receipt of applications is Thursday 14 September 2023. To apply or learn more click on the link below.

Application link 
DFI Annual Report 2022 
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