ILMI April 16th 2021 Mailshot

As a Disabled Persons Organisation (DPO), ILMI directly consulted with disabled people to relay the lived experience of disabled people and make a robust submission on Ireland’s state report. We believe it is the lived experience of disabled people that is vital to informing policy that impact on our lives and this way it highlights what is working and areas where improvement is needed.

ILMI conducted 10 facilitated consultations throughout February and March 2021 to bring disabled people together from across the country.

This submission was made to the Department last week  and can be read here 

Event invitation “Everything you wanted to know about disability but were afraid to ask!”
Wednesday 5th May 3pm (Zoom)

Independent Living Movement Ireland (ILMI) would like to invite you to our webinar “Everything you wanted to know about disability but were afraid to ask!” which will take place via Zoom on Wednesday 5th May 3pm.

May 5th was designated by the European Network on Independent Living as European Day on Independent Living and this event is part of ILMI’s celebration of this date.

The webinar will be an opportunity for people to listen in informally lean about the social model of disability an how that informs the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Disabled activists will discuss the use of language and the role of Disabled Person’s Organisations (DPOs) and how the social model of disability can inform the implementation of the CRPD.

We are delighted to be joined by Minister of State Department of Children, Disability, Equality and Integration with responsibility for Disability Anne Rabbitte TD who will open the webinar.

MC for the webinar will be Peter Kearns and will feature a short input from special guest Speaker, Maggie Cameron who is a freelance Disability Equality & Diversity Trainer with experience of developing Disabled Persons Organisations in Scotland.

A facilitated panel discussion with MC Peter Kearns will feature disabled activists Des Kenny, Selina Bonnie, Amy Hassett and Maggie Cameron.

Who is this webinar for?
It is a unique opportunity for anyone who wants to listen directly to disabled activists and hear about the issues facing disabled people through an equality and human rights lens.
Anyone with an interest in equality, human rights, community development, policy development and building an inclusive Ireland should attend to begin to explore how we collectively need to think about disability in Ireland.
We are inviting:
•            Politicians,
•            Policy makers,
•            Public servants,
•            Community Development Organisations,
•            Trade unions,
•            Equality and human rights organisations
•            Local Area-based partnerships
•            Disabled activists
Please free to circulate among your colleagues and contacts who you think would benefit from listening in.

To attend, please email by Tuesday 4th May at 12 noon.

ILMI Submission to the review of the Mental Health Act 2001

“The medical / charity model individualises the term ‘disability’ to equate with an individuals proscribed impairment label and impairment. It encourages the idea that people are disabled by their impairments or perceived differences, including psychiatric “diagnostic” labels. The medical model constantly focuses on people’s impairments from a western professional medical perspective. This medical model paradigm of thinking proposes the person needs to be ‘fixed’, to be ‘cured’, to return them to an acceptable level of normality in mind and body.

The medical model has sub-headings such as the Charity ‘model’, where disabled people are marketed as ‘vulnerable’ passive objects of ‘care’ that must be paid for by ‘normal’ duty-of-care fearful citizens and multi-billion euro private organisations. Frequently, the medical/charity approach to impairment still looks at what is ‘wrong’ with the person and what in their ‘best interest’ and not what has happened to people that has caused emotional distress or what the person effectively requires to access pathways towards their individual lifecourse wishes and preferences.

Emotional distress is almost exclusively viewed in Ireland through the lens of the biopsychosocial model, which is a medical model of disability. The biopsychosocial model is predominantly an epidemiology (disease) model that looks at the interconnection between biology, psychology, and socio-environmental factors. Ultimately, as a medical model, it predominately looks at impairments relating to emotional distress as being something that is “wrong” with the individual that needs to be treated. It states that people who have experienced distress are “broken” or “flawed” and that it is something “inherent” that needs to be “fixed”. Extreme forms of this medical approach can lead to refusal to engage with people’s lived experience and life history and can have medical professionals remove autonomy from people, including forced detention and denial of basic human rights.



Selina Bonnie Podcast:

ILMI Vice Chair Selina Bonnie is this week’s guest on the “Are Kids for Me” podcast where she discusses the barriers disabled people face who want to be parents and how important autonomy and choice are for everyone in this very personal decision.
Link to Podcast is here

Meet ILMI’s CREATE Project Coordinator Patrick Flanagan

IMAGE photo of Patrick Flanagan

Patrick joins ILMI after spending six years working with Muscular Dystrophy Ireland where he was responsible for Fundraising and PR, while also leading a 2019 Independence and Engagement Project.
After graduating from DCU with a BA in Communication Studies, and MSc in Multimedia, Patrick pursued independent living which he achieved through securing Employment, Housing and PA Services. He is a strong believer in the value of social engagement and activity and has played an active role in disability sport and adapted physical activity for over ten years. Patrick had represented Ireland playing powerchair football since 2011, and has been an advocate/ambassador for a number of events and campaigns with CARA – Sport Inclusion Ireland.

As CREATE Project Coordinator, Patrick hopes to be able to bring his own experience and the experiences of other ILMI members to inspire and empower CREATE Project participants to achieve their own goals relating to employment and independent living in general.

Independent Living Movement Ireland (ILMI): Invitation to tender Life Coach for CREATE project

The ILMI Create (Creating Raised Expectations and Aspirations Towards Employment) Project works directly with disabled people across Ireland in a dynamic online training programme. ILMI’s CREATE programme works with disabled adults through coaching, mentoring, peer support and tailored training to build confidence and self-belief through creative online group and one to one workshops.
CREATE supports disabled jobseekers on their pathway to mainstream employment and self-employment.

ILMI is seeking tenders from qualified life coaches to tender to work with the CREATE project coordinator to provide both one to one and group coaching sessions to CREATE participants. These sessions will take place at the start, middle and end of the programme, and will provide reflective spaces for disabled people to work with life coaches to identify new goals and expectations. The sessions will also help participants develop greater levels of Confidence, Assertiveness and Resilience in disabled participants around their employment journey.

For more details

My Journey Into Activism by Sarah Fitzgerald

(This blog has been inspired by a group of stories which I hope will be published soon, called Conversations about Activism and Change)

It was never my life ambition to work in, or to have much to do with the disability sector. I came from a background where much of the focus was on self-improvement, on getting better, on fitting in. The closest I had experienced to disability activism as a teen was when I stayed in Clochan House with a group of seven other disabled teenagers, (including my future husband!), and we decided to keep in touch. We worked together to raise money to go away for a week to Cuisle in Co. Roscommon, which was run by the Irish Wheelchair Association. I remember feeling lazy and as if I’d let the group down because I wasn’t comfortable with the notion of raising money.

I remember one of the fundraisers entailed holding a raffle, and so I ventured out around my housing estate on my blue tricycle, knocking on doors for money. Some of these families could barely feed themselves. I remember going to one particular door. The garden was overgrown and the front step was unkempt, the paint chipped away. When I rang the doorbell an elderly lady answered, looking frightened. I think she was expecting to be mugged. She saw my money bag and the raffle tickets, and she felt sorry for me! This turned my stomach. I remember wishing that I could make a real difference, without having to blackmail others for money.

Having the privilege of availing of mainstream education had its drawbacks. I spent so much time trying to prove myself and fit in that I never gave any real thought into my identity as a disabled person. I always maintained that I wasn’t ashamed of my impairment, but yet I refused to embrace it. In secondary school, when I was exhausted from studying for my Leaving Cert, I was offered… for the rest of this piece please click here

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