ILMI April 30th Mailshot

Welcome to our April 30th 2021 Mailshot

ILMI Submission to the Student Grant Scheme Review: April 2021.

ILMI welcomed Minister Harris’ announcement on the review of the student grant scheme.

As a national disabled person’s organisation (DPO) we felt we were extremely well placed to make an authentic written submission on the issues facing disabled students in relation to student grants. Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD) article 24 recognises that disabled people have the same rights as others to education. To read about the issues we highlighted on the review of the student grant read our submission here MS Doc and PDF versions 

ILMI Film Making Workshop update

IMAGE Screenshot of the filmmaking class

Here is a taste of the exciting ILMI Film Workshop class with Johnny Goggins and Peter Kearns which is going from strength to strength.

History of the Genre Development: By the end of the silent era, many of the main genres were established: The melodrama  –  The western  –  The horror film  –  comedies  & action-adventure films (from swashbucklers to war movies).

Musicals were inaugurated with the era of the Talkies, and the genre of science-fiction films wasn’t generally popularized until the 1950s.

One problem with genre films is that they can become stale, cliche-ridden, and over-imitated. A traditional genre that has been reinterpreted, challenged, or subjected to scrutiny may be termed revisionist.

Many films currently do not fit into one genre classification. Many films are considered hybrids – which means they straddle several film genres. There are many examples of present-day filmmakers reflecting familiar elements of traditional or classical genres, while putting a unique twist on them.
For more info contact

ILMI Deepening Social Model Thinking at Maynooth Youth Studies

ILMI continues to roll-out social model led Zoom and TEAMS on-line Disability Equality Training (DET) to mainstream Irish institutions. This month’s DET Zooms particularly addressed supporting university youth work studies students to effectively engage with young disabled people. ILMI are encouraging universities to capacity build their youth work students to enable disabled young people to access their local mainstream community resources such as youth clubs, scouts, arts and sport.

ILMI ONSIDE Coordinator Peter Kearns facilitated a DET evening with Maynooth University alongside ILMI supporter John Kelly who also spoke about his long-term social model informed work with Dublin’s Crumlin DMAP mainstream access programme.
For the complete article click here. 

Garda Strategy 2022-2024 Public Questionnaire

This short questionnaire asks you (the public) about your views on the following:

•            Accessibility of An Garda Síochána
•            An Garda Síochána’s engagement with communities
•            Inclusivity and diversity
•            Garda service delivery
An Garda Síochána hope to incorporate your views in developing the Garda Strategy for the next three years and appreciate and thank you for taking the time to respond to this survey. For more information and a link to the survey click here 

BeLong To Survey

IMAGE shows poster for BeLong To Survey

What’s life been like for #LGBTI+ young people during COVID-19? Take the @BeLonG_To ‘LGBTI+ Life in Lockdown’ survey & share your experiences. Complete the survey & be in with a chance to win an €80 One4All voucher

The Strategies for Change Project Update

In this week’s Strategies for Change session, we had Iris Elliott from the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) talk to us on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled People (UNCRPD). Iris kicked off her presentation by sharing her journey to becoming a proud “Rights Holder.” She grew up in the North of Ireland and later became involved in the Women’s Rights Movement. Her lived and later learned experience helped her be the person that she is today, proudly belonging to a movement that fights for the rights of everyone.

Building a culture of disability rights within Ireland and elsewhere is about embedding, owning, understanding, and realising that each and every one of us are deserving citizens. For this to happen, we need legislative, institutional, and organisational systems to change as well as attitudinal and behavioural.

We are all human; we are all equal; disability is not going to disappear; it’s part of the human experience. Disabled people have diverse needs/wants and want to live and participate in society like everyone else. But

•            Why can’t a house “just be a house” – built for everyone?
•            Why do disabled people have to be “inspirational”?
•            Why are disabled people treated differently?
•            Why is “stigma” and “oppression” part and parcel of a disabled person’s lived experience?

“Diversity is beautiful,” and it should be celebrated

We all know that disabled people are more likely to experience discrimination and have their human rights restricted; the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD) is a living and breathing document and is an agreement between different countries and, when signed and ratified, informs them about what they have to do to ensure that all disabled people enjoy the same rights as their non disabled counterparts.

The UNCRPD does not give disabled people any new rights (written by disabled people) and is a tool to help countries understand what they have to do to ensure that this group has the same rights as everyone else. There are 50 Articles in the Convention, and all of these relate to a different human right, and many are interconnected. For example, the right to Independent Living includes having a right to housing, human support, privacy, transportation, education, and employment. The right to having a family includes having the right to make decisions, have intimate relationships, and have children.

As Ireland has now ratified the UNCRPD, it must make sure that all disabled people can access and exercise all of the rights listed in the Convention. Alongside the Convention there is a way for disabled people to make individual complaints. This is called the Optional Protocol. This allows disabled people to make individual complaints to the UN. However, Ireland has decided not to sign this part of the Convention yet as they need to make changes to existing laws that restrict disabled people’s rights.

Every 4 years, the Irish Government has to write a report about how they are making sure that disabled people have the same rights as everyone else. This report was written and made public for review this January. Many disabled groups, including ILMI, had many consultations with disabled people, these were wrote up and submitted to the Irish government. The content of these submissions included what needs to happen/change to make sure disabled people are treated equally. The Government has to look at these submissions and may make changes if needed to their final report. This is then sent to the United Nations Committee where the report is checked to make sure that Ireland has stuck to what they have signed up to do. The committee will then write to Ireland to inform them how they are doing and will also give guidance to what they need to achieve in the following 4 years.

The Irish Government must make sure that there is an independent organisation to monitor how the Convention is being put into practice. In Ireland, this is being done by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC). IHREC have set up a committee made up of disabled people that are expert in the area of human rights to support this monitoring.

All disabled people need to feel deserving; they need to be “Rights Holders” and use the CRPD whenever their rights are restricted. For example, if a disabled person needs a Personal Assistance Service to live like everyone else, then they need to use Article 19 – the right to Independent Living, if they need Assistive and or Adaptive Devices to live like everyone else, then they need to use Article 20 – Personal Mobility, if they want to get involved in politics, then they need to use Article 29 – Participation in Political and Public Life.

Some important observations by participants included:

•            That the Convention needs to be enshrined into law/legislation to make a real difference
•            Our rights cannot be achieved under our current system of support because it is resource based and is entrenched in the Medical Model of Disability
•            That the Convention does not use Social Model Disability language.

For more information contact

Donegal ONSIDE

I recently attended the Independent Living Movement of Ireland’s onside project in County Donegal. This seven-week course was split into two parts: digital skills training and social inclusion workshops.
There is a Chinese proverb that runs along the lines of “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.  For me this course was about the latter half of that quotation – it was about giving people skills to feel empowered and foster their independence.
Each week in the digital skills training, I learned new skills for e.g. learning about zoom, apps, e-safety, online shopping, library services, (Learning about the library services was a complete revelation) entertainment, social media, and health & well-being were among the topics covered during the digital training.

The social inclusion workshops did so much to expand my awareness on what’s available in our local communities. There was talks and presentations on disability equality training, community banking, Donegal ETB, Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Donegal Volunteer Centre, Donegal Local Development Company and the local Job Club.  I also learnt about the sterling work of the ILMI at influencing national and European policies I’m really pleased to have done this course because it’s provided the venue to learn about 21st century digital life skills and what supports are available in our local communities.

I would like to thank Orla for being such an excellent community navigator. For more information contact

Joint Statement from:  LGBT Ireland, Equality for Children, the National Infertility Support and Information Group, Rainbow Families Equality Network, Irish Gay Dads and Independent Living Movement Ireland. 28th April 2021

Government must act immediately on recommendations from Report reviewing Children’s Rights and Irish Law.

The publication this month of the Report by Prof. Conor O’Mahony, Special Rapporteur on Child Protection on the rights of the child in relation to donor assisted human reproduction (DAHR) is strongly welcomed by the LGBT Ireland, Equality for Children, the National Infertility Support and Information Group, Rainbow Families Equality Network, Irish Gay Dads and Independent Living Movement Ireland who have joined forces to form the Assisted Human Reproduction (AHR) Coalition Group.

The AHR Coalition Group is made up of organisations and support groups representing individuals and couples who have, or are planning to, access AHR treatment, including single people, couples from the LGBT+ community, disabled people and couples where a health or fertility condition is preventing them from conceiving a child.

The recommendations contained within the report provide clear and practical legal solutions, which uphold the rights and best interests of children including their right to family life, identity and non-discrimination.

In doing so, the report recognises the reality of AHR treatment which can often involve needing to access services abroad. The report also highlights the need for legislation to address the real-life circumstances of individual children including those already born, so they can establish a legal parental relationship to their parents who love and care for them daily.

The report also considers in detail the regulation of surrogacy including what form of regulation is optimal from a children’s rights perspective.  In doing so, Prof. O’Mahony notes that “Ireland’s failure to regulate surrogacy to date has had negative consequences for Irish families, children and parents have been left in vulnerable legal positions for lengthy periods of time due to the failure of the Oireachtas to legislate to address their status” and calls for “an acceptance of the reality of surrogacy as an international phenomenon”.

Equality for Children Chairperson Elaine Cohalan supports this view, stating that “the Government needs to take on board Professor O’ Mahony’s advice to build on the learning from other jurisdictions by publishing AHR legislation that meets the highest international standards, protects all parties involved and makes provisions for both domestic and international surrogacy”.

Acknowledging that recent commencement of provisions from the Children and Family Relationships Act (CFRA) 2015 only provide for recognition of same sex female parents in limited circumstances, the report also recommends amendments to the 2015 Act so more families can avail of this legislation. This includes a recommendation that provision be made for second parents of children born through non-clinical procedures, to be able to make an application for parentage through the District Court.  The report also recommends that retrospective declarations of parentage be provided through a Court process where a known donor was used, provided the donor does not object.  These recommendations are vital to providing legal parental recognition for many more female same-sex parents not currently covered by the Act.

Ms Cohalan also called on the Government to include provisions in the forthcoming AHR Bill that allow for retrospective declarations of parentage in DAHR and Surrogacy cases, “our organisations support families who have been living in legal limbo for years, with only one parent recognised. This can have far reaching consequences for children and their parents including impacting on citizenship rights, healthcare, childcare, educational provisions, social welfare, inheritance and much more”.

Ms Gillian Keegan, representing the National Infertility Support and Information Group (NISIG), also warmly welcomed the report stating that “the Government should take on board Professor O’ Mahony’s advice in relation to applying learnings from other jurisdictions, providing adequate protection for all parents and children regardless of  how, when or where they were conceived, ensuring the intended mother is the legal mother from birth and that provisions are made for both domestic and international surrogacy”.

LGBT Ireland, Equality for Children, the National Infertility Support and Information Group, Rainbow Families Equality Network, Irish Gay Dads and Independent Living Movement Ireland are jointly calling on the Government to ensure no time is wasted in implementing the recommendations from the O’Mahony Report and to also consider the recommendations by the Oireachtas Committee for Health submitted to the Department of Health in relation to the General Scheme of Assisted Human Reproduction Bill 2017.

Queries to Elaine Cohalan,
Full report

About the AHR Coalition
The driving principle behind the work of the Group is to ensure that equality is secured, and the human rights of children conceived using AHR, their intended parents and families are protected and advanced in laws or policies.  The primary objective of the Group is to inform the development of laws or policies pertaining to Assisted Human Reproduction (AHR) from the perspective of the human rights and equality of children conceived using AHR, their intended parents and families.
Current membership of the AHR Coalition
LGBT Ireland
Equality for Children
National Infertility Support and Information Group
Rainbow Families Equality Network
Irish Families Through Surrogacy
Irish Gay Dads
Independent Living Movement Ireland

Call to participate in the research project Non- Traditional Pathways into Parenthood: A Quantitative and Qualitative Study.

Ciara Bradley (Maynooth University) Ann-Marie Hanlon (Dundalk IT) Anne Marie Whelan (RFEN)

This research has ethical approval from Maynooth University and is being conducted in conjunction with RFEN.

The aim of this research is to document the prevalence and the experiences of parents and families in the context of using a range of pathways to parenthood. In particular, this research would like to identify the issues faced by families who have used particular forms of conception arrangements which may not be currently recognised in Irish law. These include those who have used known donors or home insemination, surrogacy, and/or seek recognition of foreign births and international surrogacy arrangements.

It is hoped that this study will contribute to a better understanding of the social, legal and personal issues facing families, in addition to informing advocacy with respect to the content of the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill.

Phase 1 of the research takes the form of an anonymous online survey which takes about 15 minutes to complete and is available through the project website   inviting responses until the 31st May 2021

At the end of the online survey, participants will be invited to volunteer for Phase 2 which will involve more in depth interviews with some of the families.

If you have any queries with respect to the above, please contact us at

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