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.

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