The air is silent no breeze caresses the blooming trees,
I hear a low chirp from a distant unknow location,
breaks the stillness of the summer night,
the bats are about they play their subtle […]
Unfortunately due to the current situation with COVID19, that we have no choice but to postpone the recruitment campaign until such time as things improve.
Please check back in at a later […]
Journey to de-congregation- where are we now? – Social Care Ireland
Jessica Gough (ÁT Leader) Account
On 24th October 2019, I had the pleasure of representing ÁT at Social Care Ireland’s Disability Specia […]
Technological University Dublin (Formerly DIT) held a seminar on June 20th 2019 seeking to understand the supports that are currently available in Ireland to people with disabilities who wish to become […]
We had a wonderful opportunity to watch one of our leaders Jenna Fitzgerald tell her inspiring story at the Student Leader Congress for Cycle Against Suicide on the April 9th 2019 in the […]
ÁT Administrator wrote a new post, Jessica Gough represents ÁT at a conference in the European Parliament in Brussels on "Promoting Independent Living and Participation in Society for People with Disabilities" 1 year, 7 months ago
Jessica Gough is a Leader with Áiseanna Tacaíochta. On the 6th of March 2019 Jessica represented ÁT at a conference in the European Parliament in Brussels. The conference was focused on the subject of “P […]
An interesting and informative meeting was held last week between ÁT and The National Applied Social Research Institute in Israel (Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute). The Institute leads some of the most important national social initiatives, using cutting-edge research to contribute to many significant social policy and program reforms in Israel.
The Israeli government is now seriously exploring the introduction of personalised budgets and the delegation were delighted to have the opportunity to discuss with ÁT some of the important issues in developing this program and also to hear firsthand from Gordon Ryan, one of ÁT’s founding members, about his lived experience of how personalised budgets can facilitate independent living.
Pictured are members of the Israeli delegation led by Professor Jack Habib, Director, Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute who were hosted at the ÁT offices by Gordon Ryan, Paul McBride CEO of ÁT, and Aisling Whelan ÁT Member Services Manager.
The Board is delighted to announce the appointment of Paul McBride as Chief Executive Officer of Áiseanna Tacaíochta. Paul has over 20 years’ experience in senior management positions in both the commercial and not-for-profit sector. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant with exceptional financial, commercial and governance experience, and a proven track in effective organisational management.
A graduate of NUIG and UCD Paul qualified as a chartered accountant whilst with PWC in Dublin. Following PWC he worked for many years in the food sector both in Ireland and the UK gaining extensive experience in all aspects of organisational management.
In recent years Paul held the position of Chief Executive Officer with Cycle Against Suicide, an organisation focused on raising awareness of suicide and challenging stigma in the area of mental health.
During his tenure with Cycle Against Suicide Paul led multiple teams and hundreds of volunteers towards meeting the goals of the organisation. He oversaw the growth and development of many awareness raising events, including the organisation’s annual signature event which involved up to 10,000 cyclists taking to the roads over a two week period; the growth of the annual schools’ congress to a 6,000 student event over a two day period. He also developed/secured several formal partnership arrangements with related agencies; and a new pilot programme in the area of sustained community engagement in the area of mental health awareness.
Under Paul’s direction, ÁT is committed in continuing to deliver Martin’s vision of empowering people with disabilities to lead independent lives.
A demonstration to highlight the Government’s failure to ratify the UN convention for People with Disabilities. The 30th of March 2017 will mark 10 years since Ireland signed up to the convention but failed to sign it into Irish. This is truly shocking and we need to make sure that the voice of people with disabilities is heard.
For more information go to:
A New Government – A New Disability Reform Agenda.
Reflections from the Centre for Disability Law & Policy
At NUI Galway.
9 February, 2016
The hard-won economic recovery is now well underway. The Government deserves credit for this. But we now need a social recovery to match it – one based on the equal citizenship as well as productive capacity of persons with disabilities.
All political parties need to address these reform challenges and show the voters they mean it. Otherwise they cannot claim the support of citizens with disabilities who have had to put up with a lack of innovation, bad services and low expectations. We – at the Centre for Disability Law & Policy at NUI Galway – contend that those who contend for high office have to provide convincing plans to meet the following challenges.
First of all, our service model needs a drastic overhaul. It is still premised on a medical model of allocating resources to meet specific needs. These needs are important. But they should be put alongside the higher importance of enabling people to get a life and live independently and in the community.When the present Government came into office it promised a radical shake-up of the way the public service functions. Nothing of the sort has happened. We are left with the same unfit-for-purpose service model – the only difference being that it now has a static or shrunken budget. The stated goal of successive Governments has been in favour of the personalization of supports with budgets devolved to the person (and freedom to shop beyond traditional service providers). While we pour money in to an old and discredited model the world has moved on. Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme is particularly impressive. Some services are innovating. But isolated pockets of excellence simply aggravate people’s frustration. Someone, somewhere in public office has to grasp the public interest and enforce it throughout the country. All parties should declare now their intention to forcefully re-engineer our existing service model and transform it to meet best international practice.
Secondly, the endemic poverty of persons with disabilities has to be tackled. Everyone knows that employment is a key to independence as well as social integration. The recently announced Employment Strategy is a good start. But we also know that employment for many people with disabilities will not necessarily generate the resources needed to get a life. And our social welfare system on its own will not do. It needs to be complemented by positive wealth accumulation strategies particularly in favour of persons with disabilities and especially those with intellectual disabilities. There is a lot of fiscal innovation throughout the world now which enables trust and other funds to grow in favour of persons with disabilities without impacting their social entitlements (e.g., Canada). Often this requires Government to incentivize third parties to invest (with appropriate tax breaks). There is no reason why the Department of Finance cannot innovate beyond the well-known limits of our social welfare model. There is no reason why we cannot break beyond the assumption that people with disabilities will either remain resource-poor or dependent on social welfare (more or less the same thing). Our political parties need to commit to innovative with new fiscal models to grow the assets of persons with disabilities to ensure they have choices and do not fall into steep poverty traps.
Thirdly, any new Government needs to accelerate the implementation of the long-standing plan to end institutionalization. The main scandal about Aras Attracta was that it still exists. Its continued existence is not merely an affront to the right to live in the community but is also against longstanding Government policy (‘Ending Congregated Settings”, HSE, 2011) . It is time to get serious about community living which means connecting housing strategy with services and support strategy. It means, for example, getting beyond a reactionary or response–led service model that cannot plan for inevitable lifecourse events. What is the point in being allocated housing if one doesn’t have the support to take advantage of it? No one can rationally plan their lives if they cannot predict how the system will respond in advance. And carers have a right to live independently too instead if being used as a permanent form of support regardless of the opportunity costs to them – and to the larger economy.
This Government managed to turn around a backward looking Bill it inherited from the last Government on mental capacity. Minister Kathleen Lynch deserves the lion’s share of credit for converting this Bill into Europe’s first Assisted Decision-Making Act (December 2015). The Act is far from perfect but at least we now have something to build on. This Act has yet to be commenced. This has to be a priority of the incoming Government. And even when commenced it will remain symbolic unless people are also enabled to get their own lives. That is another reason why action on closing own institutions is long over-due.
The next Government could start by ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Rather shamefully, we are among only a handful of countries that have not ratified. We have to ratify with an attitude that we can contribute to positive strategies for change throughout the world – and not just defend ourselves every four years before the UN. The imagination shown by this Government to produce landmark legislation on Assisted Decision-Making shows what is possible. The next Government has to show similar imagination in changing our service model, tackling poverty through innovation and ensuring community living for all. Indeed, strong legislation on the right to live in the community would be an ambitious but also an achievable goal.
Otherwise, given the Poor Law mentality behind so much of our model, one is left wondering what 1916 was all about and whether it was worth it.
Professor Gerard Quinn, Director
Professor Martin Naughton, adjunct chair
Dr Eilionoir Flynn, assistant Director
Centre for Disability Law & Policy
2016 is a year that promises much by way of societal change and reflection – a year in which the political consciousness and deliberations of a people will be upfront like never before. It is a historical centenary year in which concepts of equality and citizenship are up for scrutiny and re-consideration. Yet for most people with disabilities in Ireland real substantive change remains elusive, despite the promises and assurances of the State.
The time to act is now – a General Election, a new Programme for Government and the impending ratification of the UNCRPD (United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) offers the opportunity for people with disabilities, their families and friends to engage in public and political discourse and to become effective agents of change.
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