ILMI eBulletin ILMI eBulletin 7th July 2023

ILMI Logo Independent Living Movement Ireland. Freedom Rights Empowerment

In this issue:
ILMI’s Youth Collective
ILMI’s Shelly Gaynor Engages Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration, and Youth Roderic O’Gorman
ILMI’s Claire Kenny meets Minister for Finance Michael McGrath
Art | Disability | Climate Change
“In Sligo we navigate ordinary things”
ILMI’s Fiona Weldon Sparks Mainstream Conversations on Menopause and Disability

ILMI’s Youth Collective

IMAGE: Zoom screenshot with 6 people and everyone is in mid laugh and smiling.

On the 28th June and 4th July, the vibrant members of ILMI’s Youth Collective had the incredible opportunity to engage with Kate from Hub na nÓg. This collaboration came about as the Department of Children, Equality, Integration, Disability & Youth is currently in the process of drafting guidelines on the crucial aspect of decision making involving children and young people.

At ILMI, we warmly embraced this chance to be consulted and make our voices heard. We strongly emphasised the power of collective action and stressed the significance of including disabled children and young people when decisions are being made that impact their lives. It is crucial to ensure that non-disabled professionals actively listen and consider the perspectives of disabled individuals in decision-making processes.

We firmly believe that disabled children and young people possess invaluable lived experiences that are essential in shaping decision-making processes. Their unique insights and perspectives shed light on vital aspects that might otherwise be overlooked. Together, we can create a more inclusive and equitable society.

If you are passionate about making a difference and being a part of a dynamic group, we invite you to join ILMI’s Youth Collective! Share your ideas, contribute to meaningful discussions, and collaborate on exciting initiatives.

To get involved, contact us at  We can’t wait to hear from you and work together to create a better future for disabled youth!

Hub na nÓg:
National centre promoting children and young people’s voices in decision-making.
Supports government, NGOs, and agencies to include seldom-heard voices.
Provides training, coaching, and advice to enhance listening and action on youth voices.
Set up by DCEDIY to implement the National Strategy on Children and Young People’s Participation in Decision-Making (2015-2020).

ILMI’s Shelly Gaynor Engages Minister Roderic O’Gorman and Presents “Conversations about Activism and Change”

IMAGE: photo shows Shelly Gaynor and Minister Roderic O’Gorman and both are in front of a van and smiling broadly in the sunshine.

ILMI’s Peer Mentor Shelly Gaynor, a skilled and passionate disabled activist with over 20 years of experience, had an impactful discussion with Minister Roderic O’Gorman about the influential activists featured in ILMI’s book, “Conversations about Activism and Change.” This meeting shed light on the pressing issues faced by disabled individuals in Ireland today.

During their brief encounter, Shelly Gaynor engaged in important conversations with Minister Roderic O’Gorman, who serves as the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration, and Youth. The focus was on disability rights and the potential for social change. Shelly presented Minister O’Gorman with ILMI’s powerful book, emphasising the role of our disabled voices in driving meaningful progress within society.

ILMI remains dedicated to fostering a society that recognises and uplifts disabled voices, thereby bringing us closer to achieving genuine equality and social justice for all. Together, we can create a more inclusive and empowering future.

ILMI’s Claire Kenny meets Minister for Finance Michael McGrath

IMAGE Minister Michael McGrath holding a copy of “Conversations About Activism and Change” and Claire standing alongside him.

ILMI’s Claire Kenny meets Minister for Finance Michael McGrath TD in Abbeyshrule, Co Longford ahead of Budget 2024 ILMI advocates Government investment in Disabled People, fostering inclusion, and choice. Discussions cover PAS, DPOs, employment, and disability costs.

Addressing disability costs demands support like accessible resources. Investing in PAS aids independent living, while funding DPOs strengthens advocacy. Inclusive employment fights financial insecurity. Let’s empower disabled voices for full inclusion in Ireland!

Claire also presented a copy of our book “Conversations About Activism and Change” to the Minister, showcasing the impact of disabled voices in driving social progress. Collaborating with policymakers can create an equitable and accessible Ireland, celebrating diversity. Together, we can make a difference!

Art | Disability | Climate Change
An afternoon webinar exploring disability narratives in a changing climate through the work of Irish artists. Thu, 20th Jul 2023 12:00 – 15:00 All Welcome

By Artist Alan James Burns
The “ART | DISABILITY | CLIMATE CHANGE” webinar offers a unique platform for disabled people to engage in vital discussions surrounding disability, climate change, and art. By attending the event, participants can deepen their understanding of the challenges faced by disabled people in the face of climate change and contribute their invaluable perspectives and expertise to address the climate emergency effectively. With esteemed speakers like ILMI’s Peter Kearns, the event promises to be an enriching experience, fostering dialogue and promoting inclusivity in climate action.
All the details for this online event here

In Sligo we navigate ordinary things

IMAGE: photo of Peter Kearns and John Owens in silhouette with all the camera equipment and in front of them all light up is Ruth Flood.

Sligo Disabled Person’s Organisation (DPO) had a successful two days of filming at Northside Community Centre with ILMI’s Peter Kearns and video camera whiz-kid John Owens. With themes identified by Sligo DPO members after a series of workshops with DPO Development Officer Peter, John is filming a series of social media video shorts for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to explore the North West County’s lived experiences of urban and rural disabling barriers aimed at informing the County Council and the Sligo Public Participation Network (PPN).

On completion of the PPN supported Sligo DPO social media video shorts, the DPO members stories will benefit Sligo Council’s work with disabled people throughout the County DPO by increasing awareness of challenges facing many disabled people of various social and cultural communities in the County. The Sligo DPO vision behind the video-shorts is to utilise a social model intersectional approach on the various on-line media platforms as a means to inform policy and programme development with statutory management audiences throughout the North West.

The new local DPO, which had its first AGM on UN International Day of Disabled People on 3rd December 2023, also hopes the on-line pieces will encourage an increased engagement with North West DPOs in the Social Inclusion Pillar of the Public Participation Network. Sligo DPO members have shared some of the themes explored in the two-days of filming with Peter & John last week, these include navigating everyday:
• Street barriers, such as cafe pathway boards, restaurant wheelie-bins
• Sligo Town’s Stephen St. Disability car parking spaces that open directly into busy traffic and do not offer sufficient space for disabled drivers to get out of their cars
• Access to new Recycling Bins throughout the Town and County
• Bollards and badly designed raised curbs, plus ‘shared’ spaces footpath identification and Tactile-Paths
• Feeding or petting guide dogs when they are working or distracting the disabled owner and the possibility of employing Blind/Visual Impairment ‘Community-Police’
• Attitudes to invisible impairment labels, such as people with ‘ID’, epilepsy, ME, b-polar labels
• More seating in public areas lack of public places for disabled people moving around Sligo towns and villages to sit and rest or relax, plus, plus be cognisant of sensory placing seats near busy road or shopping areas
• Locked Disability bathrooms and lack of baby-changing facilities at appropriate heights for wheelchair using parents
• Intersectional attitudes with disabled people who are working-class, Travellers, LGBTQ+ and belonging to other Sligo communities
• Uncomfortable being touched or uninvited entering of our personal space and sitting on the arms of the wheelchair

Apart from identifying the lived experience navigation of above, the primary Council management audience for the lived experience social model themed videos, the Sligo DPO would like to promote an increased knowledge among the general public of the role played by Sligo DPO members in successfully addressing such accessibility challenges.

ILMI’s DPO Development Officer and Sligo DPO members have been planning and workshopping everyday access themes for the social media video-shorts from the beginning of 2023. Members of Sligo DPO see the social media campaign being launched this autumn with Council Social Inclusion representatives and PPN Resource & Support workers. ILMI’S Peter also hopes the on-line video-shorts will “encourage engagement with the local disabled youth and adult community and to inform decision making and environmental planning dialogue with the Sligo DPO.

Would you like to find out more about DPOs and their invaluable contributions? Then please contact ILMI’s DPO coordinator on this email

ILMI’s Fiona Weldon Sparks Mainstream Conversations on Menopause and Disability

ILMI’s esteemed Capacity Officer, Fiona Weldon, will join a prestigious panel at the upcoming National Menopause Summit in Cork. Drawing from her lived experience, Fiona Weldon aims to spark conversations and break taboos surrounding disabled women and menopause at a mainstream event on Menopause.

Taking place on October 20th, 2023, at Cork City Hall, the National Menopause Summit brings together leading experts and advocates to delve into the crucial topics of perimenopause and menopause. The summit aligns with World Menopause Month and is supported by M&S, underscoring the growing recognition and significance of this issue.

Renowned menopause awareness pioneer and respected journalist Mariella Frostrup, alongside celebrated broadcaster Gráinne Seoige, will headline the summit as speakers. Mariella Frostrup’s groundbreaking 2018 BBC1 documentary, “The Truth about Menopause,” shattered taboos by openly sharing her own menopause journey, initiating a much-needed conversation and fostering increased awareness.

Fiona Weldon, ILMI’s Capacity Officer, brings her unique perspective as a disabled woman to the panel discussion. By sharing her expertise, Fiona aims to break barriers and ignite dialogue concerning the intersection of disability and menopause. Her insights, rooted in the social model of disability, highlight the specific challenges faced by disabled women during this life transition, promoting inclusivity and support.

The National Menopause Summit provides a platform for experts, advocates, and those affected by perimenopause and menopause to convene, exchange knowledge, and empower one another. The summit not only challenges the stigma surrounding menopause but also addresses the distinctive experiences of disabled women, creating space for their voices to be heard.

For more information about the National Menopause Summit, please visit this link

As always if you want to know more about any of these articles or ILMI’s work in general then do get in touch. You can reach us at

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