ILMI eBulletin ILMI eBulletin 16th of June 2023

ILMI Logo Independent Living Movement Ireland. Freedom Rights Empowerment
Meeting with Minister Anne Rabbitte
IMAGE photo of Minister Rabbitte, ILMI Chairperson Des Kenny and ILMI CEO Damien Walshe

Brilliant meeting with Minister Anne Rabbitte TD  on Wednesday to talk about ILMI’s new strategic plan, local DPO development, inclusive policy development and the implementation of the UNCRPD Delighted that Des Kenny presented the Minister with a signed copy of our book Conversations About Activism and Change.

Mat Fraser
IMAGE photo of Mat in a painter’s studio surrounded by paint and canvases, dressed casually in light denim.

“Reading Conversations about Activism and Change, I was struck with how it resonated with my own experiences of becoming a proudly political Disabled Person, notably that there is so much solidarity to be found in Crip community, which can then become politicised advocacy for our further emancipation…..It’s a book about strength in unity, fighting the powers that be with activism to change opinions and legislature, and how education drives that, and a wonderful reminder that we are stronger together……It’s uplifting, and the sometimes sad stories of oppression always lead to the pathways of, at least relative, freedom…..I’d say this book is vital reading for any disabled person, or anyone else interested in disability equality as a socio political intention.”
Click here for a list of stockists. “Conversations about Activism and Change” the essential summer read.

Leitrim DPO, Michael Harding and Bloomsday
IMAGE photo shows Peter Kearns Claire Kenny Dr James Casey Mark McCollum and the one and only Mr Michael Harding

Happy #Bloomsday2023 everyone. This time last year ILMI chatted about difference, diversity, inclusion and the role of DPOs to have the voice of disabled people heard with the wonderful writing treasure that is Michael Harding. Here is the video 

If you enjoyed this video, check out or other pieces on this link ILMI Video Resources

The National Women’s Council of Ireland AGM
IMAGE: photo of the ILMI Delegation Paula Soraghan, Shelly Gaynor and Fiona Weldon.

The NWCI 50th AGM celebrated the diversity of organisations, representing rural women, migrant women, Traveller women and so many more that make up their almost 200-strong membership today.

ILMI’s Paula Soraghan was a keynote speaker and talked about the overlap between ableism and sexism, particularly around inappropriate touching in public. She stressed how many of our struggles are shared and the importance of community. Powerful speech from Paula also on how the disability industry’s focus on “normalising” disabled people is incredibly oppressive, the focus should be on making society adapt, not disabled people.  The ILMI Delegation also included Shelly Gaynor and Fiona Weldon.

Missed our IWD 2023 Celebration Event?
Well here is the video  (ILMI) International Women’s Day Event 2023 “Do we need Equality before Equity?”

Leitrim DPO
IMAGE: photo show 9 people including Peter Kearns seated in a stage space.

Leitrim DPO preparations and advocacy workshop for the Leitrim Development Company 5-year plan meeting at Glens Arts Centre next Tuesday 20th June at 10am to 12pm. Contact for more info.

IMAGE left to right photo shows Ciaran Delaney, Nicola Meacle, Anita Ryan and Amy Begley

Cork City consulting with disabled people and planning for the next six years.
ILMI was delighted to be part of the consultation to produce the new LECP for Cork City. The purpose of the Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) is to develop a framework to implement practical collaborative initiatives which will have a positive impact on social, economic, and environmental factors in your community.

Leitrim Disabled People leading Public Participation
ILMI was delighted to be invited to Leitrim Development Company  workshop at their Drumshanbo Headquarters this month to take part in the County Council’s Public Participation Network (PPN) Leitrim PPN’Linkage’ Group on Social Inclusion, Disability, Rural Development, Peace and Reconciliation.

ILMI’s Peter Kearns used our invite to promote a direct-dialogue role for Leitrim Disabled Persons Organisation (DPO) with the County’s Community & Voluntary registered groups. As a national cross-impairment social model DPO, our support for local DPOs, such as Leitrim DPO, is recognised as a possible way forward towards disabled people sharing their Leitrim lived experiences in influencing County Council planning for social inclusion and rural development. Peter is supporting Leitrim DPO to become members of the PPN so that they become the direct consultation & dialogue with the Linkage Group and the DPO their PPN membership will focus on bringing together PPN members to advocate on local and national disabling issues through proposing policy solutions to the relevant bodies.

The Linkage Group will also elect representatives to the Leitrim Development Company Board and Leitrim DPO have been invited to put names forward for Board and committee members, such as transport and housing. Leitrim DPO will use their membership of the Linkage Group to focus on disabled young people and adults giving their voices to anti-poverty, community development, equality, and social justice issues.  The local DPO hopes this translates into a social inclusion approach to community building, discussing disabling issues that arise to improve the lives of Leitrim disabled people.

UP The Adult Cerebral Palsy Movement UK
IMAGE picture of Fiona Weldon with a speech bubble and text that reads “Independent living is NOT about being able to do things by yourself for yourself. IT IS about having access to a Personal Assistant Service that you are in control of, if needed.  It is also about having access to – the Built Environment, a home that is accessible to your needs, Peer Support/Mentoring, Accessible Transport, Accessible Information and Assistive and Adaptive Technologies and Devices!” and the UP logo.

Fiona Weldon from ILMI was delighted to be invited to the UP Adult CP Movement Matters Community Support and Education Programme a few weeks ago to speak about the importance of the:

•            Social Model of Disability to disabled people
•            And Independent Living as defined by it its proponents and its significance to the lives of disabled people.

Fiona explained to the group that both the Social Model of Disability and the philosophy of Independent Living was born out of the Disabled Peoples Movement. However, it is Fiona’s lived experience that the term has been used and abused by traditional disability support services over the years. This reality has forced a lot of disabled people to believe that needing support is a sign of weakness and disabled people need to do as much for themselves by themselves, even if it takes us half an hour to put on a pair of socks.

This is RUBBISH! As Fiona and many other ILMI staff, board and its members live and breathe both the Social Model of Disability and the philosophy of Independent Living.

As Humans we are all “interdependent creatures”! None of us are so called “independent”, we ALL rely on others every day, at home, at school and at work.

Impairment and disability are very separate beasts. “Disability is not personal it is attitudinal and structural” (Paula Soraghan).

This is not a denial that we (disabled people) have to live with, and manage our impairments. But think about this, if we were to take the disabling – attitudinal and structures barriers away then we would be just left with our impairments.

Hence it’s the disabling barriers that get in our way, so it’s the negative beliefs, the inaccessible structures / systems and the medical approach to supporting disabled people that GET IN OUR WAY.

Connect with us and together we can shift the power relations. Insist on your right to the services and supports that you need to live like everyone else – it is in the UNCRPD – disabled people know best – disability is about human rights, it is about Collective Empowerment and it is all about Social Justice!

Sligo HSE Disability Day Centres event with ILMI
IMAGE: photo shows eight people standing in a lecture room in front of a black board and Peer Kearns amongst them.

ILMI’s Peter Kearns has been working with North West HSE managers to have a social model dedicated day event with ‘ID’ and Day-Centre Practice-Staff to promote a direct-dialogue role for Leitrim and Sligo Disabled Persons Organisations (DPO) towards informing future placement staff and students. As a national cross-impairment social model DPO, ILMI’s continuing support for the inclusive voice of local DPOs is a pragmatic way forward towards disabled people sharing their north west of Ireland lived experiences in influencing HSE planning for day-centre effective DPO led social inclusion and staff development. Peter and HSE Practice-Placement managers enjoyed a day of workshops clarifying the social model definition of the word ‘Disability’ and promoting a real place for dialogue with North West disabled people and their DPOS.

ILMI’S DPO Development Officer took a lead in facilitating the day’s event at The Centre of Nursing and Midwifery Education, Creggs Sligo. Peter told the E-Bulletin that “I hope it will be the start of offering a wide variety of social model-led educational experiences for HSE practices that can be informed by disabled activists DPO voices”.

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