ILMI eBulletin 29th of September 2023

ILMI Logo Independent Living Movement Ireland. Freedom Rights Empowerment
In this issue:
ILMI AGM and Annual Report Update
ILMI members informing HSE working group on “Wasted Lives”
ILMI meet with Minister O’Donnell to discuss implementation of National Housing Strategy for Disabled People
ILMI and NWCI webinar on Climate Justice

ILMI AGM and Annual Report Update
IMAGE: cover of the annual report 2022 a stack of our submissions spreading out and an online Zoom screen open on a laptop

ILMI held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) online on Wednesday 27th September. As part of this process, members discussed the work of the organisation in 2022 and the audited accounts.
Des Kenny, ILMI Chairperson led the discussion to outline to members the successes for the organisation in 2022. Des said that we should be incredibly proud of our work as a national cross-impairment Disabled Persons Organisation. We are led by disabled activists from across the country, working collectively to achieve our vision of 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.
Some of our key achievements in 2022 include:

  •  Completion of our INTERREG-funded cross border project ONSIDE with 627 disabled people
  • Completion of our Dormant Accounts Funded CREATE employment programme building the confidence and capacity of disabled people accessing the employment
  • Supporting the development of the LGBT+ space for disabled people Full Spectrum Ireland
  • Ongoing resourcing of Peer Mentoring to work with disabled people on one-to-one navigation of systems and supports
  • Continued successful online webinars, which were recorded as part of our ongoing online resource development
  • Investment in VOICE community development project through the Department of Rural & Community Development
  • Completion of year 2 Strategies for Change online Activism programme
  • PAS NOW 30 days of action for our PAS NOW campaign with a presentation in the Oireachtas AV room
  • Position papers on the participation of disabled people in media and politics

As part of the AGM, Des thanked Gordon Ryan, ILMI treasurer, who stepped down from the board at the AGM. Des noted Gordon’s significant contribution as a board member since he was brought on as a casual vacancy in the summer of 2017 and along with other board members was instrumental in the development of ILMI.

Dr Michael Seifu was elected to the board at the AGM and Michael thanked members for his nomination.
An accessible MS-Word version is also available on the annual reports section of our website alongside our audited accounts
IMAGE: photo of a strawman with text that reads “We are committed to developing and consulting on a ‘strawman’ proposal on the restructuring of long-term disability payments under the Roadmap for Social Inclusion 2021-2025 Strategy. The Green Paper is our response to this commitment”. Quote From the page 

“Des Kenny, the chairperson of Independent Living Movement Ireland (which aims to help disabled people achieved independent living) told The Journal that he was pleased to see the Taoiseach confirm in the Dáil that no disabled person would lose their benefits under proposed reforms.

“From when the green paper   was launched, disabled people have been anxious that this proposed reform of disability payments would lead to loss of supports,” Kenny said.
He added that ILMI have voiced concerns that the proposed scheme appeared to be similar to the UK system which he said pushes disabled people into work with “huge human costs and suffering”.

Kenny pointed out that the Department of Social Protections’ own research shows that disabled people face significant costs because their impairments, ranging from between €8,700 to €12,300.

He said in other European countries this has been recognised through non-means tested payments for disabled people who incur these costs, whether they are employed or not.

He added that system reform is needed to ensure greater employment of disabled people in mainstream workplaces but said that this needs to be led by disabled people through disabled persons organisations (DPOs).” Full article on this link 

Join Us for “The Green Paper on Reform of Disability Payments” Discussions!

Discover the potential changes to Disability Payments in Ireland and have your say in this vital conversation. ILMI invites you to either Zoom sessions on October 18th at 11 AM and October 24th at 7 PM to explore the Green Paper proposals and voice your concerns. This is your chance to help shape our (ILMI) collective response as we seek to ensure fair and effective policies. Email to sign up, specifying your preferred daytime or evening session. For a detailed analysis, visit here . Make a difference, Have your voice heard – join us!

ILMI members informing HSE working group on “Wasted Lives”
IMAGE: Zoom screenshot of the group

Based on recommendations of the Ombudsman’s “Wasted Lives: Time for a better future for younger people in nursing homes” Report (May 2021) the HSE formed a working group to generate practices, policies and services to prevent and reduce the practice of placing younger disabled people within inappropriate nursing home settings.

ILMI’s peer mentor Shelly Gaynor represents ILMI on this working group and from this HSE staff asked to meet with ILMI members to deepen their understanding of how systems need to be designed and resourced to ensure disabled people have the supports they need to live independently in the community.

It was a very useful discussion with a lot of strong contributions, which is what the HSE needed to hear directly from disabled people about their fears about lack of support and ended up in nursing homes. ILMI members brought their own lived experience about the lack of resourcing of PAS, the lack of hours and the lack of PAS to staff and how that impacts on their lives, as well as fears that without a properly designed national PAS service based on choice and control for disabled people reduces the options for disabled people to live independent lives in their communities.

ILMI will continue to engage in this space and inform the working group of the collective lived experience of disabled people in relation to the full provision of Personal Assistance Service (PAS).

ILMI meet with Minister O’Donnell to discuss implementation of National Housing Strategy for Disabled People
IMAGE: photo shows the group and the Minister sitting around the table

ILMI, as part of the Oireachtas Disability Group (ODG) met with Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage Kieran O’Donnell TD on Thursday 28th to discuss the implementation plan for the National Housing Strategy for Disabled People.

A key part of the discussion was the need for Departmental leadership to drive the effective development of Housing Disability Steering Groups (HDSGs) and the need for local DPO development to be resourced to ensure that authentic collective voices of disabled people are the local drivers for the effective implementation of housing policy for disabled people.

IMAGE: shows our CEO Damien and Minister O’Donnell and a copy of "Conversations About Activism and Change"

It was also an opportunity to present Minister O’Donnell with a copy of ILMI’s book “Conversations About Activism and Change” in order that the Minister learn about the history of the disability rights movement in Ireland to inform his thinking and his department’s role in realising an inclusive Ireland for all.

“Conversations About Activism and Change” is available in all Great Book Shops, check out this list of stockists

Feminist Communities for Climate Justice. A Transformative Webinar by the Women’s Council of Ireland
IMAGE: screenshot of Claire Kenny in action on the webinar

This past week, the Women’s Council of Ireland, in collaboration with Community Work Ireland and the Department of Environment, Climate, and Communications, hosted an illuminating webinar titled ‘Feminist Communities for Climate Justice.’ The event featured a line-up of fantastic speakers, including Project Coordinator Collette Doreen, ILMI’s own Policy Assistant Claire Kenny, and Mary Brigid Collins, a Coordinator at Pavee Point.

The discussions throughout the webinar spanned a wide spectrum, all viewed through the common lens of ‘Feminist Communities for Climate Justice.’ A recurring theme that emerged from the talks was the realisation that the impacts of the climate crisis are not evenly distributed. A feminist approach to climate justice involves addressing the root causes of inequality and climate injustice.

As one speaker eloquently put it, “There is no policy area or crisis that we are currently experiencing that does not have a link to climate breakdown. All policy is climate policy. And all policy needs to be gender, poverty, and equality proofed.” This encapsulates the essence of Feminist Climate Justice.

Mary Brigid Collins shed light on the fact that many Traveller halting sites are situated behind tips and dumps, which has a significant impact on health. The lack of accessible public transport compounds these challenges. “Energy costs in trailers are through the roof, and many Travellers are forced to burn fossil fuels, as retrofitting and green energy grants are not made available to those living on halting sites,” she emphasised.

Claire Kenny, an esteemed colleague from ILMI, underscored that failing to treat climate change as a global emergency will disproportionately affect the most out on the margins or “vulnerable” members of society. Climate change, she stressed, is not just an environmental issue; it’s a matter of social justice. For instance, urban areas must become fully pedestrianised to be inclusive of disabled people and ensure that shared spaces are accessible to all.

Vanessa, another speaker, delved into the concept of a “Just Transition.” She emphasised, “A truly equitable Just Transition ensures that these transformations do not leave anyone behind, and do not hurt some groups in society disproportionately either.” Rising energy bills, Vanessa explained, are closely tied to the volatile nature of fossil fuel energy costs and the prioritisation of profit over human needs.

The webinar proved to be an enlightening and well-attended event, featuring rich and diverse presentations. The key takeaway was that we can all learn from these discussions and explore our common ground. Ultimately, the underlying truth that emerged is that we are all interconnected and interdependent.

In an era marked by pressing climate concerns, the Women’s Council of Ireland’s ‘Feminist Communities for Climate Justice’ webinar exemplified the power of collaboration and the urgency of addressing climate change through a lens of equality and justice. The event served as a beacon of hope, inspiring all participants to work towards a more equitable and sustainable future. The message is clear: climate justice is inseparable from social justice, and together, we must strive for a more inclusive and sustainable world where no one is left behind.

Rachel Creevey
IMAGE; photo of Rachel smiling wearing her burgundy coat

ILMI were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of ILMI member Rachel Creevey who passed away on Wednesday 27th September. ILMI would like to express our deepest sympathies to Rachel’s family and friends at this difficult time.

The details of Rachel’s funeral arrangements are included in this link for ILMI members who wish to pay their respects online.

RIP Rachel

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