ILMI E-Bulletin July 18th, 2021


Inside This Issue:

We have a bumper packed edition this week, which includes:

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

ILMI Call for Investment in Disabled People and Not in the Disability Industry

IMAGE: poster with the words ‘ILMI Call for Investment in Disabled People and Not in the Disability Industry.

Concern that the Disability Capacity Review has no mechanism to talk directly to disabled people about where resources need to be invested

Today (Friday 16th July) ILMI responded to the Department of Health “Disability Capacity Review to 2032: A Review of Disability Social Care Demand and Capacity Requirements up to 2032”.

“It is remarkable that an analysis of proposed State investment in our lives for the next ten years at no point engaged with disabled people about what we want or need. It is welcomed that the Department finally recognises the huge un-met need in terms of Personal Assistance Services, which is something that disabled people want. But the proposed investment for day services and residential settings are contrary to disabled people being included in all aspects of social, educational, cultural and economic life as per our obligations under the UNCRPD. The Capacity Review is based on continuing to invest in the “Disability Industry” which will perpetuate a situation where many disabled people are segregated from the society” said Des Kenny, ILMI chairperson.

ILMI is a cross-impairment Disabled Persons Organisation. Our vision is an Ireland where disabled persons have freedom, choice and control over all aspects of their lives and can fully participate in an inclusive society as equals. The provision of many disability services are diametrically opposed to inclusion.

“We know that many segregated services (residential centres, day centres) which were established in the past were done so by non-disabled people to keep disabled “safe”, to “look after” disabled people. What they have done in effect is keep disabled people out of society. They have ostracised us and they have acted in a way that has denied mainstream services and indeed Irish society from changing to become inclusive” said Selina Bonnie, ILMI Vice Chair.

“For example, disabled people who should be accessing accredited learning provided by their local Education and Training Board are often directed to access learning solely with other disabled people through “special” day centres. Not only does this infringe on disabled people’s rights to access the education of their choosing it also prevents spaces for disabled and non-disabled people to share as equals and ultimately build an inclusive society” she said.

“The Disability Capacity Review shows us that it costs €25,000 per year per person to fund day services. Why not give that money directly to disabled people through a personalised budget and allow us to decide what to do, and when to do it? The “Disability Industry” and the services they provide are based on the premise that non-disabled people know best and need to make decisions on what disabled people want are not and can never be inclusive” said Des Kenny. 

“It is not just that “activities” that take place in day services should be controlled by disabled people, disabled people need fundamentally in control of the “disability industry” so we can decide whether it is appropriate to have spaces that segregate us and separate us from our non-disabled peers; or whether those resources that finance separate services would be better used in providing disabled people with the resources we need to participate in society as equals” added Mr Kenny.

“Ireland is bound under the UNCRPD to support the inclusion of disabled people in all aspects of life. Yet the Disability Capacity Review states that “Participation in day services is virtually lifelong”. How is that acceptable that disabled people are to be segregated into these services for their entire adult life? How is that compliant under UNCRPD?” said Mr Kenny.

“The commitment of Ministers Donnelly, O’Gorman and Rabbitte to ensuring there is strategic long-term investment is welcome. But they must ensure under article 4.3 of the UNCRPD and General Comment 7 to speak directly to Disabled People through their representative DPOs to ensure to invest in what disabled people want and need to participate in society as equals. The “Disability Industry” cannot be part of these discussions as they have vested interest in ensuring investment continues to support the Status Quo of exclusion and segregation,” said Selina Bonnie.


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Summer 21 – Want to be Included?

IMAGE: poster with the words ‘Outdoor Dining, Tourism and Accessible Spaces. How can we ensure real access? Join us on August 4th at 11am, via Zoom, as we discuss our inclusion as Ireland opens up for Summer 21.

As Ireland begins to open up for Summer 21 do you feel that your community is becoming less accessible? Have you concerns regarding access to local amenities given the increase in granting of outdoor licenses? Or perhaps your area has never been more accessible, and you can provide guidance and advice on how to reopen outdoor dining and amenities in a way that includes us all.
ILMI are facilitating a discussion on August 4th at 11am, via Zoom, on the reopening of civic outdoor amenities and the increase in outdoor dining. If you would like to be part of that discussion, then do please let us know. You can register by contacting any of the ILMI staff team or emailing

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ILMI Housing Network

IMAGE shows a key in a door lock. The text reads ILMI Housing Network. Are you a disabled activist who would like to be part of your local Housing Disability Steering Group? Would you like to have your say on housing issues that impact on your life? Then why not join our Housing Network and learn more through our training and networking programme about how you can really influence housing policy?

On Friday 9th July the ILMI housing network met again, and this session focused on “Representational Roles and Responsibilities”.

As we know “representation” is vitally important for us as disabled people to be sitting at the decision-making table! Article 4.3 and 29 B of the UNCRPD states that “In the development and implementation of legislation and policies to implement the present Convention, and in other decision-making processes concerning issues relating to persons with disabilities, States Parties shall closely consult with and actively involve persons with disabilities, including children with disabilities, through their representative organisations.” This is why it is really important that Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs) are consulted and engaged with in all decision making structures going forward. ILMI welcomes the development of the new housing strategy. ILMI are members of the Department of housing sub group on housing and are members of the new advisory group with the housing agency tasked with developing the new strategy.

ILMI also welcomes the call for people with lived experience onto all Housing Disability Steering Groups (HDSGs) as part of the new strategy. From our own research and ILMI housing network it is very clear many disabled people are interested in becoming involved in decision-making structures about their lives such as the HDSGs. As a national DPO led by and for disabled people the ILMI housing network is working to prepare Disabled people and build their capacity to enable them to contribute and participate effectively on their HDSGs. ILMI policy officer James Cawley gave a recap of the first session and then the workshop was led by ILMI CEO Damien Walshe where the larger group broke into breakout rooms to discuss various aspects of representation. The next session of the ILMI housing network is on Friday 23rd July at 10am.

Finally, if you are interested in representing ILMI on your local HDSG – Do get in touch too!

If you are interested in registering or want to find out more email our Policy Officer at

Accessible Taxis

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has created a survey on taxis and hackneys.
As we all know Transport is one of the pieces of the “independent living jigsaw” that lots of disabled people throughout Ireland have challenges with. Furthermore, getting an accessible taxi on demand can be a nightmare. Please participate in the survey and have your voice heard.

The survey can be completed in the following ways:

  1. Online, via the following link which is compatible with screen-readers:
  2. By post: if you require a hard-copy version of the survey, please contact Behaviour & Attitudes at You will also receive a stamped addressed envelope to facilitate the return of your completed survey.
  3. By telephone: should you prefer to complete the survey in this manner, please contact Behaviour & Attitudes at  or on 01 2057561.They will arrange for an agent to call you to go through the questions with you.

Should you wish, you may also ask someone to complete the survey on your behalf.

If you want to report a taxi for any reason, please visit the transport for Ireland website. There is also a Transport for Ireland (TFI) “Driver Check App” it allows users to check that the vehicle they are about to hire has been registered correctly and that the driver has the appropriate license to operate the vehicle. If the information appears incorrect, it is possible to submit a report. All of Ireland’s taxis, hackneys, limousines and all SPSV (Small Public Service Vehicles) drivers are covered by this app. This includes rural locations as well as cities such as Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford. Visit the Driver check app here.

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ILMI Women’s Group

IMAGE shows three women with the text ILMI Women’s Group Focus Group session on women’s screening services in Ireland. Presented by Lynn Swinburne, HSE. July 8th 7pm to 9pm. To register email

On the 8th of July ILMI were delighted to welcome Lynn Swinburne Senior Health Promotion Officer from the HSE screening programme.
Lynn gave a very comprehensive and clear outline of how each of the screening programmes run. The members of the group were able to ask questions that they had regarding queries on different aspects of screening. Lynn also provided important information on Access Officers, whom you can call if you have a query prior to an upcoming screening appointment. Lynn was very keen to hear about the lived experience that members of the group had in using or accessing the different type of screening available. The zoom with Lynn will hopefully be the start of a great relationship between Independent Living Movement Ireland and the HSE to ensure that disabled people’s voices are heard when it comes to women’s health going forward.

If you would like to contact an Access Officer, you can do so through 1800 45 45 55. Or if you would like to be part of the ILMI Women’s Group please contact Shelly Gaynor at

Money Matters!

IMAGE shows part of the Money Skills presentation with some of the participants.

On Tuesday 13th and Thursday 15th July, the ONSIDE project hosted two ‘Money Skills for Life’ workshops. More than 30 disabled participants attended the workshops, facilitated by Eve Curran of Ulster Bank. The workshops aimed to build on the previous Money Skills workshops facilitated by Eve as part of ONSIDE’s recurring social inclusion programme. The topics covered included, Sorting Out Your Money, Saving and Investing, Insurance, Borrowing Money, Dealing with Debt and Planning for Later Life. There is no doubt that financial skills and effective money management are essential to living independently and the ILMI ONSIDE team wish to extend their thanks to Eve for her ongoing input to the social inclusion programme.

For more information about the ONSIDE project in your area contact

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Disability Proofing with Mental Health Reform

ILMI continues to roll-out social model led Zoom and TEAMS on-line Disability Equality Training (DET) with our colleagues across the disability sector. During July ILMI delivered two zoom-morning DET workshops with over 30-members of Mental Health Reform. The workshops, led by ILMI’s Peter Kearns with tech support from Dr James Casey, particularly addressed supporting disabled people connected to disability-sector organisations and encouraged participants to view themselves as social model informed activists. The fun and creative group work sessions gave participants the thinking skills for challenging and changing the language of Mental health and well-being towards are more effective social model lived experience affirmative approach.

Through further DET workshops across the Country ILMI are encouraging mental health and well-being organisations to capacity build their disabled members to effectively engage and identify medical model barriers and enable social model thinking on transforming such oppressive lived experiences.

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ILMI Film Workshops

IMAGE shows International Director and Producer Johnny Gogan.

With 2021 Covid-‘crisis’ funding from Leitrim County Council, ILMI successfully rolled-out 10-weeks of zoom Film Making workshops. From early spring through to summer, ILMI facilitated the fun workshops with international Director & Producer Johnny Gogan and ILMI’s very own film production guru John Owens and whip cracking film producer Peter Kearns. The two film ‘Johnnies’ encouraged those that turned-up every Tuesday morning at the 11am zoom workshop to get their stories of disabled people beating Covid isolation onto screens by making their own 3-minute video shorts. Participants have since grabbed that opportunity to make some short films which are currently being shot on participants mobile phones over the summer ‘break’. The 3-minute finished shorts will be shown and mentored to a broadcast standard by Johnny Gogan, John Owens and Peter when film workshops return in the autumn and will be exhibited in ILMI’s new ‘IS’ Gallery later in the year.

The 10-weeks of ILMI Film Making workshops involved Johnny Gogan and Peter Kearns delivering weekly breakdowns of all the business and creative steps towards realising participants’ first short films. Workshops included showing excerpts from Johnny Gogan’s 2020 space documentary Prisoners-of-the-Moon and his recently premiered 2021 documentary Groundswell that also featured ILMI Peter as Executive-Producer, highlighting the misconceived plans of gas and oil Fracking corporations that led to the 2018 Anti-Fracking Dáil Act. Peter was then joined in 2nd-half of the 10-weeks by film camera-person and all-round techy edit king John Owens. John put together a series of short videos on post-production editing skills and free Apps that were shown in the second half of the 10-week programme.

John Owens and Peter also told the ILMI Film workshop participants about their award winning short-films shown at international festivals from San Francisco to Berlin. These film-shorts were all scripted, directed, shot and produced by disabled people from Lights-Disability-Action TV & film training programme (1998 to 2001). Our ILMI film participants are continuing with disabled people telling the lived experiences through film by using this summer to script, direct, shoot and produce a short-story film or documentary using their mobiles and ONSIDE Tablets. Over the summer months Peter Kearns and John Owens will support the new filmmakers to design, shoot & edit their ‘shorts’ towards exhibition on ILMI’s ‘IS’ Gallery and possible social media broadcast.

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ILMI Part of the #Addthe10th Alliance

On the 22nd June the Minister for Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, announced a consultation on the review of Irish Equality legislation. The details of the for this consultation are available

A number of groups now calling themselves #Addthe10th Alliance, has been lobbying for some time for the inclusion of socio-economic status as a 10th ground in Irish equality legislation. Members include:

– All Together in Dignity (ATD) Ireland

– Community Action Network (CAN)

– European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) Ireland

– Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC)

– Independent Living Movement Ireland (ILMI)

– Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed (INOU)

While the review may be an important opportunity to address a range of gaps and weaknesses in our equality legislation, we are anxious that this review finally results in the inclusion of socio-economic status as a 10th ground.

As you may be aware there is sections of Irish society in an urban and rural setting which come from deprived backgrounds and areas that have experienced systemic and generational discrimination relating to their socio-economic status which is not prohibited or protected. On this note, while the Alliance members seek a protected ground for this section of society, we are also conscious that discrimination based on socio-economic status intersects with the discrimination and inequality experienced by people covered under other grounds in Irish equality legislation, including disabled people.

Therefore, the Alliance is organising an informal meeting between organisations representing people covered under the 10 grounds to discuss the Government’s review of equality legislation, the need for a socio-economic ground in Irish equality legislation and the intersectional nature of the discrimination and inequality experienced by people across the grounds.

The meeting will take place on Tuesday 27th July at 11am. If you are interested in attending, please email


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Social Night with Judy Heumann

IMAGE shows a screen shot from the ILMI social night with Judy Heumann.

We are delighted to say you can now watch the recording of our hugely successful ILMI Social Night with Judy Heumann. To access the recording please visit

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Strategies for Change

IMAGE shows an image of the words Strategies for Change.

Last week’s Strategies for Change session involved a presentation from Jacqueline Healy of the Irish Human Rights Equality Commission (IHREC). Jacqueline came along to talk to the group about the Public Sector and Human Right’s Duty.
If you would like to read more about the session and how the Public Sector Duty relates to disabled people please visit

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IHREC and WRC annual reports: Are disabled people using the Equal Status Act to challenge discrimination?

Two key institutions in Ireland’s Equality and Human Rights Infrastructure, the Irish Human Rights Equality Commission (IHREC) and the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) have published their 2020 annual reports. These reports give us an insight into discrimination in Ireland and where people have sought to have inequality challenged.

IHREC is our National Human Rights Institute (NHRI) and is an independent public body that accounts to the Oireachtas, with a mandate established under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014 (IHREC Act 2014). The IHREC Act includes and further enhances the functions of the former Irish Human Rights Commission and the former Equality Authority. IHREC’s role is to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.

The WRC is an independent, statutory body which was established on 1st October 2015 under the Workplace Relations Act 2015 (No. 16 of 2015). It plays a vital role in Ireland’s equality and human rights infrastructure as it assumes the role of the Equality Tribunal and Employment Appeals Tribunal, which are key spaces to hear cases under the Equal Status Act (2000-2018) and the Employment Equality Acts (1998-2015). It also assumes the roles and functions previously carried out by the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA), Labour Relations Commission (LRC), Rights Commissioners Service (RCS).

IHREC and WRC annual reports: what do they tell us about disabled people challenging discrimination?
IHREC’s annual report was published this week and its information section makes for interesting reading. Disability discrimination the highest area of public contact representing 54% of all equality related concerns in 2020.
Broken down, of the 610 queries IHREC received under the Equal Status Acts 2000-2018, of which 34% related to the disability ground. Of the 328 queries under Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015, of which 35% related to the disability ground.

Interestingly, the WRC Annual report saw a decline in complaint referrals under the Equal Status Acts 2000-2015. In 2020, some 305 referrals were made under the Acts, relating to 452 specific grounds. The reason for the larger number of grounds is that when people are making a complaint under the Equal Status they can report that they were discriminated under more than one ground (such as disability and gender, for example).

The figures for 2020 compared to 439 referrals in 2019 relating to 648 specific grounds: an annual reduction of just under 30% on referrals compared with 2019 and continues a trend first apparent in 2017. However, within the overall referrals, some increases took place in relation to Civil Status (360%), Sexual Orientation (75%) and Disability (25%) on 2019. This meant that in 2020, 91 complaints were made to the WRC under the disability ground of the Equal Status Act as compared to 73 complaints in 2019.

The WRC report showed that in 2020, it received 939 Employment Equality complaint referrals, citing 1,260 specific grounds compared to 1,288 referrals citing 1,733 specific grounds in 2019. This represented a 27% decrease on 2019 complaint referrals. Within this, the number of complaints in relation to Religion declined by 61%, Age by 54%, and Civil Status by 50%. Disability (290) and Gender (278) were the most cited grounds of referrals made under the Acts although both respective figures were somewhat lower than 2019.

What do the reports tell us?
There always has been an issue with the under-reporting of discrimination and human rights abuses ( For example, in the 2014 Equality and Discrimination module of the Quarterly National Household (QNHS) survey, 16% disabled people said that they had experienced discrimination in the previous two years, compared to 11% of non-disabled people. In the 2019 Equality and Discrimination Survey, this gap had increased, with 24.1% of disabled people reporting that they had experienced discrimination compared to 16.7% of non-disabled people. It is clear that those numbers are not reflected in the IHREC or WRC report. However, there is also a considerable gap between the numbers of disabled people contacting IHREC for information relating to discrimination under Equality Legislation and complaints being received by the WRC.

Even if we disregard the time lag, in 2020 IHREC received 207 queries under the disability ground under the Equal Status Act, yet only 91 complaints were made to the WRC (albeit an increase from 2019). Interestingly there were 114 queries to IHREC under the Employment Equality Act but 290 referrals under this Act to the WRC (albeit down from 329 referrals in 2019, a reduction of 12%).

Given that cases taken under the Equal Status Act under all nine grounds are falling year on year since 2017, there clearly is an issue with how the WRC is promoting its role as a crucial part of Ireland’s Equality and human rights Infrastructure. Whilst disabled people experiencing rights violations and discrimination in the workplace are aware of the WRC, there is a direct link with the name and role of the organisation (Workplace Relations) that perhaps makes the process easier to manage.

ILMI will raise this issue with IHREC and the WRC separately to ensure that they are aware of concerns of why so few disabled people are taking cases under the Equal Status Act. Given that Article 5 of the UNCRPD (Equality and Non-Discrimination) address these issues, it will be important for ILMI to work with both bodies to ensure that disabled people can access both organisations to challenge discrimination whenever they experience it.

ILMI published a Guide to Disability and Law, which outlines steps disabled people need to take to challenge inequality and discrimination.

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