ÁT in the Media
We here at Áiseanna Tacaíochta (ÁT) really value the support and interest of the media in raising awareness of Direct Payments and the new opportunities for real Independent Living for people with disabilities in Ireland. Here, we gather our key media appearances: just click on the names of any of the articles or pieces below to find out more.
If you have a media query, please just get in touch with our Communications Officer, Orlaith Grehan, by calling 086 183 1502 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frontline Ireland | Thursday, 8th October 2015
This piece in Frontline Ireland looks back at our ‘Two Hearts Beat as One’ journey to America, which took place earlier this year. It celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Selma-Montgomery march, led by Martin Luther King, and the 25th anniversary of the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Every step along the way was designed to connect with the key leaders and locations associated with these remarkable moments in time, and to honour the initiative and resilience of those who stood up – and continue to stand up – for full equality and human rights.
Sunday Independent | Sunday, 4th October 2015
Our Director, Martin Naughton, responded to an opinion piece – “It’s time we set people free from institutions” – by Brendan O’Connor in the previous weeks’ edition of the Sunday Independent in a letter published by the newspaper. Martin discussed the importance of and the simple philosophy behind Independent Living for people with disabilities, referring in particular to the difference it would make in the lives of people with disabilities currently living in residential centres or nursing homes. “The conversation needs to be changed from one that sees people with disabilities as vulnerable and marginalised to one that recognizes each of us as the valuable, dynamic individuals that we all are”, he wrote.
A 72-hour, overnight campaign – aimed to draw attention to the inequalities and abuses experienced daily by people with disabilities and their families in Ireland due to funding shortfalls, successive cuts and policy failures – began on Tuesday, 17th September and lasted until the following Thursday afternoon. Director of ÁT, Martin Naughton, one of the leaders of the action, was joined by large numbers of people with disabilities and supporters of the campaign, which was supported by ÁT, Inclusion Ireland and the Centre for Independent Living (CIL). One of the outcomes saw the activists meet with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Disability, Kathleen Lynch, on the evening of Wednesday, 16th September in what they ultimately described as a “disappointing” meeting; this was due to “a lack of understanding and appreciation of the need to move towards systems and policies that allow people to live independently in their own homes and communities”. The campaign drew significant attention from national and regional media, which we have gathered here.
Irish Independent | Tuesday, 15th September
On day one of the campaign, Martin Naughton, Director of ÁT, explained why activists were taking to the streets, stating how the treatment of people with disabilities in Ireland “invokes a heady mix of emotions of anger and rage”. He said, “”We have been patient, we have waited for the delivery of many promises and proposals, crumbs from the budget table, but today Ireland’s 600,000 people with disabilities and their families are at breaking point”.
Irish Times | Tuesday, 15th September
On day one of the campaign by disability activists, Martin Naughton, Director of ÁT, discussed how the group planned to “draw attention to the inequalities, poverty and abuses experienced daily by people with disabilities and their families due to funding cuts and policy failures” over the past number of years. When the Taoiseach came out to briefly meet campaigners, Martin told him “we’re worth something and we’re going to show you that if your Government will give us half a chance.”
The Journal.ie | Tuesday, 15th September
Director of ÁT, Martin Naughton, told the Journal.ie in its coverage of the disability campaign that activists “are calling on the Government to listen to the voices of people with disabilities and our families who want support services to be redirected so that we can live independently in our homes, in our local communities with dignity”.
RTÉ Morning Ireland | Wednesday, 16th September
RTÉ reporter Conor Barrins joined disability activists following their first (and cold!) overnight stay outside Government buildings as part of their three-day campaign. “We want for all disabled people to be treated as equal citizens, treated with dignity and respect… we want people to be able to live their lives the way they choose, rather than being dictated to”, they told him. Donal Toolan summed it up by saying “this is as much a wake-up call to the other disabled people around the country and their families that we need to persuade the political system that we are an electoral issue”.
FM 104 | Wednesday, 16th September
FM 104 spoke to the disability activists taking part in the campaign after their first night camped outside Government buildings, highlighting how they are calling for investment in disability services and the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Martin Naughton, Director of ÁT, told the station that rights don’t mean anything unless they’re backed by other supports.
Irish Times | Wednesday, 16th September
Discussing the latest developments in the campaign by disability activists, Director of ÁT, Martin Naughton, told the Irish Times that “we have to fight for our recognition as independent and equal citizens of Ireland; we know how things can be improved and it is not by pumping money into residential centres. We, and our families, can make decisions for ourselves about the best services we need to live our lives”. He explained that he told the Taoiseach how Government plans to invest €450 million in nursing homes and institutions over the next five years “kicked them in the teeth”.
UTV Ireland | Wednesday, 16th September
Director of ÁT, Martin Naughton, appeared on UTV Ireland’s ‘Ireland Live’ news programme to discuss the meeting of disability activists with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Disability, Kathleen Lynch on day two of the campaign. Using the meeting to call for more self-directed living supports for people with disabilities, protection of Personal Assistant (PA) services and a better investment in services, Martin stated that, while the Taoiseach was understanding and polite, the group “didn’t consider it a very successful meeting” as nothing new came out of it.
Newstalk | Wednesday, 16th September
In his Undaunted column, Steve Daunt of Newstalk discussed the three-day campaign by disability activists, showing how supporting organisations like ÁT, Inclusion Ireland and CIL are calling “for a system where money will follow the person and people will gain control of how they access services”. He remembered Joe T Mooney, a strong leader of the disability movement in Ireland who very sadly passed on while the campaign was underway, explaining that Joe would have approved of the new generation of leaders coming forward during the campaign.
RTÉ | Wednesday, 16th September
On the second day of the campaign, RTÉ highlighted the meeting between Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Minister for Disability, Kathleen Lynch, and the disability activists taking part in the three-day action in Dublin. It also pointed to the reaction of Tánaiste Joan Burton, who said the campaigners’ proposals on the individualised funding of disability services “will be examined very seriously by Government”.
The Journal.ie | Wednesday, 16th September
The Journal.ie highlighted the brief meeting on the street between Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Director of ÁT, Martin Naughton, as day two of the campaign drew on. Martin explained that people with disabilities “know how things can be improved and it is not by pumping money into residential centres. We, and our families, can make decisions for ourselves about the best services we need to live our lives, without reliance on the discretion of others.”
RTÉ Drivetime | Thursday, 17th September
Della Kilroy, RTÉ reporter, spoke to disability activists and their supporters as they wrapped up the three-day campaign. Speaking about the next steps, Director of ÁT, Martin Naughton, told her “we are going to get the public to chime with us and give us another bit of the cherry, and, of course, the cherry in question is the general election”.
Donegal Democrat | Thursday, 17th September
Following reports that the Government plans to allocate €450 million to the upgrading of nursing homes and institutions for people with disabilities, activists on the three-day campaign described the measure as a “kick in the teeth”. Martin Naughton, Director of ÁT, said, “we shouldn’t have to do this. But this is what we have been driven to. We have to fight for our recognition as independent and equal citizens of Ireland. We have to camp at the doors of power to be heard.”
Near FM | Thursday, 17th September
Director of ÁT, Martin Naughton, spoke to Conor Doyle of Dublin’s NEAR FM live from the final day of the campaign by disability activists at Government buildings in Dublin. He discussed the meeting campaigners held with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Disability, Kathleen Lynch, the previous evening, and urged listeners to support the campaign to make disability the key issue on Government’s agenda. The Taoiseach met the campaigners while this interview was taking place – if you listen carefully, you can even hear what he had to say!
RTÉ Nine News | Thursday, 17th September
Several of the disability rights activists taking part in the three-day campaign spoke to RTÉ News about the reasons why they were there. Shelly Gaynor explained, “I have the right to have an independent life, and I can’t do that without support”. In the clip, Martin Naughton, Director of ÁT, can be seen telling the Taoiseach that “we got a right kick in the teeth from you this morning, from your Government: €450 million going to build more institutions, and all our lives are dedicated to closing them down”. (Click forward 7:40 minutes into the programme to see the segment).
The Journal.ie | Thursday, 17th September
In a powerful interview, Shelly Gaynor, one of the disability activists taking part in the three-day campaign, put into words exactly why she felt it important to be there: “I have the same rights as everybody else but without the adequate funding that I need to live my life I will never ever be an equal citizen in this country and that is not good enough in 2015”. Shelly joined Director of ÁT, Martin Naughton, and others in a meeting with the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Disability, Kathleen Lynch, the previous evening; speaking of what was talked about at it, Martin said, “the money of Irish taxpayers is going to national organisations so that they can tell us when we can go to the toilet, when we can eat, when we can sleep, what we can dream of… we want those choices to be our choices!”.
Irish Examiner | Friday, 18th September
Describing the meeting of disability activists with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister Lynch, Martin Naughton, Director of ÁT, said that while the campaigners tried to raise new ways of supporting people with disabilities during the meeting, it had not been possible to move the discussion away from “the same old models that haven’t worked and don’t work”. The newspaper reports how the organising groups will hold a joint meeting next month to plan a social-media campaign aimed at making disability rights a key election issue, asking the public to “lend us your vote to change the lives of people with disabilities, and their families, for once and for all”.
Irish Times | Friday, 18th September
Reflecting on the end of the three-day campaign, disability activists vowed to return after the disappointment of a meeting with the Taoiseach on Wednesday evening. When reports that the Government plans to invest €450 million in nursing homes and institutions over the next five years, Martin Naughton, Director of ÁT, told the Irish Times, “if the Government continues to go down the route of refurbishing and building home care and residential settings, as they have announced, they will have to put people into those homes. We need to get away from this model of incarceration and move towards a system of self-directed living supports and Direct Payments.”
Irish Times | Saturday, 19th September
In further coverage of that week’s disability campaign at Government buildings, the Irish Times spoke to Michael McCabe, a long-time disability rights activist and manager of Blanchardstown Centre of Independent Living (BCIL), and Martin Naughton, Director of ÁT. Exploring why the campaign was needed, Michael explained that ““people with disabilities didn’t have a boom, but we were hit in a number of ways by cuts”, while Martin added that “we are looking for investment in people”.
Irish Times | Friday, 12th June
In this opinion piece in the Irish Times, our Director, Martin Naughton, explains the significance of our A Declaration of Independence: The First Assembly event and encourages a seismic improvement in the way we support and fund disability services, so that people with disabilities can be empowered to live full, independent and equal lives. He shows how our model of Direct Payments represents one of these innovative support solutions.Irish Examiner | Monday, 15th June
Kelly O’Brien, a journalist with the Irish Examiner, joined us at our A Declaration of Independence: The First Assembly event in Athlone. She spoke to our Director, Martin Naughton, about the day and about the change that Direct Payments can make in the lives of people with disabilities.
Irish Examiner | Monday, 15th June
Kelly O’Brien of the Irish Examiner spoke to our Leader, Johnny Ryan, about his experience with Direct Payments. He spoke powerfully, explaining that “I have so much more independence now and so many more goals to achieve and so much more understanding of my own worth and my own abilities” now that he chooses and manages his own supports.
Irish Times | Saturday, 24th January
50 years of pioneering work for disability rights by our Director, Martin Naughton, was highlighted in a feature piece in the Irish Times. Journalist Mark Hilliard spoke to Martin about everything from leading early campaigns for change in care support to helping to found the Centre of Independent Living in the early 1990s, right up to his work with ÁT and promotion of human rights for people with disabilities today.
The Journal.ie | 7th December
Journalist Aoife Barry highlighted the work and goals of ÁT in an article which appeared on the Journal.ie. In it, ÁT Leader, Maggie Woods, explains that her experience with the organisation has “been a whole life-changing journey”.
Medical Independent | 18th December
Sara Burke wrote about our conference, Realising Equality through Active Participation (REAP), in the Medical Independent, raising some of the key issues and concepts which came up on the day. Explaining our model of Direct Payments and how speakers shared their experiences of managing their own budgets and services, she also points to the fact that the Minister for Equality, Aodhán O’Ríordáin TD, told the conference that a national framework for individualised budgets is in development from Government, although a specific date for its launch or implementation has yet to be confirmed.