ILMI eBulletin ILMI eBulletin 21st July 2023

ILMI Logo Independent Living Movement Ireland. Freedom Rights Empowerment
In this issue:
1. Ireland Presents its Progress on Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations
2, ILMI Governance for Change Programme
3. ILMI Campaigns for Inclusive Policies at Pre-Budget Forum
4. Disabled Arts and Climate Change

Ireland Presents its Progress on Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations
IMAGE: photo shows James in the UN at a podium desk and microphone

As part of the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) at the United Nations, Ireland was among 40 countries participating in the voluntary national review (VNR) of its implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The VNRs serve as a crucial tool for countries to assess their progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and identify areas that require improvement.

The HLPF also conducted an in-depth review of several goals, including Goal 6 (Clean water and sanitation), Goal 7 (Affordable and clean energy), Goal 9 (Industry, innovation, and infrastructure), Goal 11 (Sustainable cities and communities), and Goal 17 (Partnerships for the goals). This review takes place at the mid-point of the 2030 Agenda, marking a significant milestone in the global journey towards achieving the SDGs.

ILMI’s Dr James Casey was part of the Coalition 2030 delegation attending the HLPF. He represented the civil society major groups and addressed Ireland’s Voluntary National Review. Dr Casey stressed the need for increased ambition, urgency, and political leadership in the final seven years of the SDGs. He believes that Ireland can and should be a leader in meeting the sustainable development goals.

Here is the video of James on UN TV
Time stamps:
– Irish Government VNR Minister Eamon Ryan(2h41m-2h52m)
– Irish Civil Society Statement ILMI’s Dr James Casey & Q/A (3h18m-3h40m)

In this Irish Times article that ILMI’s Dr James Casey emphasised that goals related to people with disabilities were not being adequately met. He highlighted that disabled people in Ireland faced a higher risk of poverty compared to other western European countries, with the lowest employment rate in the EU at 33 percent.

ILMI Governance for Change Programme
IMAGE: screengrab of the Zoom meeting participants

ILMI’s training programme, Governance for Change began on Wednesday 19th July. This programme is aimed at building on the skills and expertise of disabled activists by delivering specific training in relation to Governance.

Over the course of five sessions, the programme will deliver workshops on Board Roles and Responsibilities, the Charities Governance Code, Effective Meetings, Financial Oversight for Board Members and how the State board system works.

In the first session in Governance for Change, Derek O Reilly from Carmichael Ireland delivered a participative workshop on Board roles and responsibilities. Derek delivered a high-quality workshop on the role of the board, specific legal responsibilities and how board members prepare for meetings.

ILMI Campaigns for Inclusive Policies at Pre-Budget Forum
IMAGE: Minister Heather Humphries Eamon McPartlin Claire Kenny and Tommie Gorman

On Wednesday, ILMI attended the Department of Social Protection Pre-Budget Forum in Farmleigh House, Phoenix Park, in the heart of Dublin. In a resolute effort to amplify the voices of disabled people and address the challenges we face, ILMI’s policy assistant, Claire Kenny, spoke to the Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys and passionately lobbied for inclusive policies and investments in Budget 2024.

Disabled People and the Poverty Trap

Representing ILMI, Claire brought the collective lived experience of many disabled people—the persistent struggle to escape the clutches of poverty. A stark imbalance in financial resources, compounded by the disproportionate financial impact of the cost of living crisis, has left many of us grappling with extreme poverty and deprivation rates.

Addressing the Cost of Living and Disability

A pressing issue at the heart of our political campaigning is the need to address the Cost of Living and Cost of Disability (COD). Disabled people encounter additional costs due to our impairments, often rendering us unable to meet basic needs without financial strain. ILMI contends that Budget 2024 must consider inflation and urgently introduce a “cost of living” or “equity payment” alongside increased core welfare rates. These measures aim to lift disabled people out of the economic poverty trap and empower us to participate fully in society, side by side with our non-disabled peers.

 IMAGE: photo shows Minister Joe O'Brien and Claire Kenny

Equality and Human Rights Budgeting

The call for equality resounds through our demands, emphasising the importance of disability being at the forefront of equality and human rights budgeting. Disabled people should not become targets during times of economic distress. ILMI urges all government departments, in accordance with Article 4.3 and General Comment 7 of the UNCRPD, to prioritise engagement with Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs). Inclusive measures must be developed, safeguarding us from the brunt of financial hardships.

Empowering Disabled People in the Workforce

ILMI pulls no punches when campaigning for empowering disabled people in the workforce. Budget 2024 needs to allocate specific resources to fulfil commitments, such as the Comprehensive Employment Strategy (CES) and the National Disability Inclusion Strategy. Supports must be adequately resourced to enable us to actively participate in the workforce. Continuity in support, throughout our lives, is crucial to avoid unnecessary burdens when transitioning between education, employment, or different jobs.

Reviewing Employment Support Systems

ILMI demands a critical review of employment support systems that have a strong focus on impairments. Such an approach, embedded in the medical model of disability, limits disabled people and perpetuates misconceptions about our capabilities. A revamped approach is necessary to embrace diverse abilities and ensure equal opportunities for all.

Investing in Accessible Transport

Transportation remains a key challenge for disabled people, particularly with a clear rural/urban divide and a lack of accessible options. ILMI stresses the importance of investing in accessible transport infrastructure, bridging the isolation gap for us. The current medicalised criteria for the Disabled Driver and Passenger scheme and tax relief must be updated to reflect the diverse needs of disabled people, ensuring that no one is left without the support they require.

Advocating for an Inclusive Future

ILMI’s presence at the Pre-Budget Forum was a powerful demonstration of our unwavering commitment to creating an inclusive and equitable future. Our collective strategic campaigning extends beyond disability rights, encompassing the challenges faced by other marginalised sections of society. As we continue to fight for a more inclusive tomorrow, our hope is that our voices resonate with policymakers, sparking real change in Budget 2024. The struggle to escape the poverty trap is not just an individual endeavour, it is a collective responsibility to create a society that uplifts and empowers all of us.

Disabled Arts and Climate Change
IMAGE: Zoom screengrab of Dr Sarah Bell, Caroline ISL Int, Peter Kearns and Jennifer Cunningham

In a ground breaking event on Thursday, Peter Kearns from ILMI (Independent Living Movement Ireland) shed light on the transformative journey of the Irish Disabled Arts Movement. Celebrating “disability” as a beautiful and valid form of being, this movement stands as a monument to identities historically devalued, shamed, and excluded from public life.

As a panel member at “ART | DISABILITY | CLIMATE CHANGE,” Peter joined leading Irish and international arts professionals in exploring disability narratives within a changing climate through the lens of Irish artists’ works.

Climate change disproportionately affects disabled people, presenting challenges like eco-ableism, lack of accessible information, and physical vulnerabilities during extreme weather events. Surprisingly, despite possessing expert skill sets resilience, resourcefulness, and specialist knowledge in navigating barriers disabled people are often excluded from climate action projects and policies.

The event emphasised the importance of including disabled voices at the forefront of climate change solutions. By recognising the contributions and unique perspectives of disabled artists, we can foster a more inclusive society and shape sustainable responses to our changing climate.

The ART | DISABILITY | CLIMATE CHANGE event has sparked meaningful dialogue, forging deeper connections between the arts practitioners and their audiences. It marks a significant step towards creating a future where diversity is cherished, and every individual can thrive and make a positive impact on our planet.

Media:  RTE Culture article

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