ILMI eBulletin February 3rd 2023

ILMI Logo Independent Living Movement Ireland. Freedom Rights Empowerment

ILMI spoke at the Committee on Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sport and Media on the 1st of February on the topic “Future business model plans and long-term vision for the media sector (access and inclusion)”
IMAGE: Photo shows Claire Kenny

It can all be summed up by this statement “Meaningful representation is everything” Claire Kenny ILMI Policy Assistant

IMAGE: Photo shows Dr James Casey 

“It is somewhat serendipitous as is it is nearly one year to the day since us at ILMI, a national cross-impairment disabled person’s organisation, held an online event (Media + Me)  to launch our policy position (Our Lives,. Our Voices: Reclaiming the Narrative)   on how disabled people’s lives are represented, utilised and portrayed in the media.

The event was a result of a consultation process with disabled people throughout the island. As with all of our core methodologies at ILMI, we work from a position of a grassroots collective and our work is driven by disabled people and their voice. From our consultation with disabled people, the overwhelming theme is that the dominant narrative portrayed in Irish media of disability is either one of how our impairments are tragic or stories of disabled people overcoming their impairments.

Disability is seen through the prism of medicine and charity – something to be cared for, looked after by charities and services providers, but rarely are we portrayed as whole, active, multifaceted citizens in our communities.

Disabled people are often only sought out to give our “personal stories” and not about how society disables us and prevents our full and dynamic participation.

A significant issue is that our authentic voices are not heard. We are not part of the discussions around our lives, our value in society dismissed as solely passive citizens. Rather, discourse around disabled people is by parents or carers and charities. Frequently, no regard is given to how we as disabled people feel having our lives displayed in public and terms such as being a “burden” and in constant “crises” are common.”

PDF of the rest of  ILMI’s Policy Officer Dr James Casey’s powerful opening statement is here and  The full Video Link 

Disability Matters Committee
IMAGE: photo of Catherine at the committee

Thursday again disabled people were well represented in the Dail by a truly incredible testimony. Insightful, hard hitting and robust, she is well capable of fighting the corner for all of us. Check out the Opening statement of the one and only Catherine Gallagher, PhD student and Disability Activist (we are very proud to have her as an ILMI Board Member) The Topic: “Public awareness of living with a disability” at the Disability Matters Committee Read it here

“Awareness raising has consistently been a topic and ever-present focus in discourse regarding disability. While I understand it can come from the best of intentions – I have to ask what do we need to be aware about? Do we need to be aware that disabled people exist? Do people have to be reminded that I am worth including or being on board in a team or a part of the community? If that is the starting point, I am not sure if that is a feat I can personally take on. For decades in Ireland, disabled people have tried to speak their truth to power as individuals, community groups, and DPOs (Disabled Persons Organisations). Nothing I am sharing today is inherently new or unique thinking; I have listened to and have been informed by my community against the backdrop of my own lived experience.”

Jacqui Browne, (proud to have her on the ILMI Board) Disability Advisory Committee, Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, discusses the non-payment of disability allowance to people in institutional care. In relation to “Up to 12,000 people in institutional care denied disability payments” Spoke on Morning Ireland Thursday listen here 

No Magic Pill (NMP)
IMAGE: photo Peter Kearns in action giving a disability equality workshop in Belfast uni of atypical. A group are seated and Peter is standing with a white projection screen behind him

The No Magic Pill team are quietly working feverishly away in the background on bringing this ground-breaking piece of theatre hopefully a little closer to you hometown in the not too distant future. Our Peter Kearns who not only acted on stage but also helped the creative process be raw visceral and authentic is, naturally enough and pardon the pun, playing his part!

So last week not only was our Peter working closely with the NO MAGIC PILL playwright & producer to submit a 2023-24 national tour plan to the Arts Council.  He also as part of an all Island tour Peter had a new year meeting with university of Atypical /Arts & Disability Forum in Belfast to begin the Northern Ireland No Magic Pill 2024 tour ‘partnership’ and facilitated a Disability Equality Theatre Training NMP process & Product workshop with NI and Donegal venues.

Where does he get his energy from?

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